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People's Daily Online

Latest drones to improve Chinese military capability

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 17:15, November 08, 2016

China expects great outcomes with the further development of its domestically developed Caihong series drones, Global Times reported.

The CH-5, China's latest drone, is able to carry an airborne early warning system to act as a platform for regional surveillance, as well as battlefield command and control, said Shi Wen, chief drone designer at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics in Beijing.

The CH-5 can carry up to 1,000 kilograms of equipment and weapons. It will carry 16 air-to-surface missiles when displayed at an upcoming air show, but its largest capacity is 24 missiles in a single flight, engineers at the academy said.

Compared with the United States' General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer drone often deemed by Western analysts as the best of its kind, the CH-5 "can perform whatever operations the MQ-9 Reaper can, and is even better than the U.S. device when it comes to flight duration and operational efficiency," Shi said.

Twice as big as its predecessors in the Caihong family, the newest drone can stay in the air for about 60 hours and operate at an altitude of up to 10 kilometers. Its current maximum range is 6,500 kilometers, and a future upgrade will enable it to fly as far as 10,000, Shi added. He said designers plan to develop a CH-5 that will be capable of staying in the air for up to 120 hours, with a 20,000-kilometer range.

Moreover, the CH-5 is able to carry an airborne early warning system and electronic warfare instruments to collect electronic intelligence. The drone can also jam enemy communications and radars.

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