Kelvin Wong - IHS Jane's International Defence Review
04 August 2017
Kelvin Wong - IHS简国际防务评论
An upgraded CH-4 reconnaissance/strike unmanned aerial vehicle, which can be identified by a more pronounced bulged nose section, being readied for a live-fire test with AR-1 and AR-2 anti-armour missiles at an undisclosed facility in northwest China. Source: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong
一架升级后的CH-4型侦察/攻击无人机，可以辨认出更明显的凸出的机鼻部分，在中国西北一处秘密设施中进行一次AR-1型和AR-2型反装甲导弹实弹射击试验。资料来源：IHS Markit / Kelvin Wong
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.