China’s Drones: CH-5 “Rainbow” Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle


CH-5 “Rainbow” is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Caihong 5 (CH-5), or Rainbow 5 is an attack and reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) capable of carrying payload of 1,000 kilograms. This UCAV can be armed with 16 missiles. This UCAV can stay in the air for about 60 hours and operate at an altitude of up to 7 kilometers.

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As per the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS),  CH-5 UCAV is expected to compete with American Reaper and Israeli Heron TP. It conducted its maiden flight in August 2015. The drone was initially shown to the public in 2016 at the Zhuhai Air Show in China.
It flew for the first time in August 2015.

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In 2020, China also unveiled a maritime variant of CH-5 UCAV. It is capable of carrying out missions such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It has a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour. The CH 5 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has a fully autonomous flight control system and is capable of flying in all weather conditions. The manufacturer claims that, with all of its features, it is both cost-effective and simple to use.

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China exports entire series of CH including CH-1, CH-2, CH-3, CH-4 and CH-5. Many states are already operating CH-series drones including Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Indonesia. China has successfully produced strike-capable drones as well as unarmed drones for surveillance and monitoring missions. China hasn’t widely deployed drones in operations yet, but it has successfully used them for monitoring.



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