Pakistan has received five Cai Hong 4 (Rainbow 4, or CH-4) multirole medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from China, according to export-import (EXIM) logs on the Pakistan Exim Trade Info website.
The UAVs, which were delivered by Chinese defence contractor Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co Ltd (ALIT), arrived in the South Asian country on 15 January, according to the website.
It is unclear, however, which variant of the CH-4 was ordered by Islamabad, and whether this delivery is part of a larger UAV order or just a limited acquisition of this UAV type, possibly for testing.
A CH-4B multirole MALE UAV being displayed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Pakistan received five CH-4s from China in mid-January, according to the Pakistan Exim Trade Info website. It is unclear, however, which variant of the UAV was ordered by the South Asian country. (Janes/Kelvin Wong)
The CH-4 family of multirole MALE UAVs was developed by ALIT and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), and comes with a multitude of sensor options. Two variants are known to be in service with China’s People’s Liberation Army: the baseline CH-4A, which is configured primarily for reconnaissance missions with a flight endurance of 30 hours, and the strike-capable CH-4B, which is capable of carrying a 345 kg weapon payload, but has a shorter flight endurance of 14 hours.
There is also third variant called the CH-4C, which is still believed to be in the testing phase. This latest variant is reported to offer several improvements over the CH-4B, including a greater payload, increased electrical power generation, as well as updated data processing and electronic architecture, enabling a wider range of payloads to be carried.