China has unveiled its most powerful drone bomber, the CH-5 unmanned aerial vehicle. China displayed the drone to public for the first time at a military air show in the southern city of Zhuhai.
The CH-5 can fly for two days without refuelling within a range of 15,000 miles. The drone made its first flight last year and appears to be based on the US MQ-9 reaper.
According to The Daily Star, it is capable of carrying smart bombs, missiles and high-tech radar jammers.
China is claiming that CH-5 has superior tech specs to equivalent US models. It says it “can perform whatever operations the MQ-9 Reaper can, and is even better than the US vehicle when it comes to flight duration and operational efficiency.”
The drone has a wingspan of 21 meters and can stay in the air for 60 hours. It has a maximum range of 6,500 km. China will be soon expand its range to 10,000 km and 120 hours of flight, giving it the longest range of all hunter-killer drones. It will also carry about 1,000 kg of equipment and up to 24 missiles.
If compared, the MQ-9 Reaper, which has been in service since 2007, can fly for 27 hours, and has a wingspan of 20 meters. China says that it is ready not only to export the drone, but also to license the technology to make it.
According to Shi Wen, chief designer of the CH series at China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, CH-5 can make a joint strike with its predecessors, the CH-3 and CH-4, because they can share the same data link and control system.
The development of CH-5 is clear sign of China’s military technology getting sophisticated with every passing year.
With its powerful capabilities, China can easily use them in spying missions over large territories in its neighbourhood including India.
At present, India has a fleet of over 200 drones bought from Israel and they are deployed on both eastern front with China and western front with Pakistan.