Chinese defence firm China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has incorporated a number of enhancements to its Cai Hong 4 (Rainbow 4, or CH-4) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that are now fully validated and available as options in its export product portfolio, Jane's has learned during a demonstration in northwest China in late July.
The CH-4 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)-class, strike-capable reconnaissance platform that has been developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), and is in service with a number of military forces in Central Asia and the Middle East.
According to the latest official specifications provided by CAAA, the CH-4 has a maximum take-off weight of 1,330 kg and a payload capacity of 345 kg. Glass fibre-based composite materials are used extensively to construct the 8.5 m-long main body and 18 m span wings, reducing the overall weight of the air vehicle as well as its radar cross-section (RCS).
Jane's understands that the CH-4 is presently powered by a 100 hp-class piston engine, which drives a three-bladed variable pitch pusher propeller and enables the air vehicle to achieve cruise and maximum speeds of up to 180 km/h and 235 km/h respectively, with a maximum endurance of up to 40 hours. It typically performs its missions at altitudes of 3,000–5,000 m (9,842–19,685 ft), although it is capable of operating up to a service ceiling of 7,200 m.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options: ihs.com/contact