Pakistan / China – CH-4 UAV
CASC Rainbow: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
CASC Rainbow, commonly known as “Cai Hong” or “CH-4 UAV,” is a Chinese-made series of unmanned aerial vehicles. CASC UAVs are developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, a body of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, abbreviated as CASC.
The first uncrewed aerial vehicle of the Rainbow series was CH-1. It was designed by Mr. Shi Wen, who also contributed to the design of CH-2 (the 2nd of Rainbow series). The CH-1 project was initiated back in 2000. The intended purpose for its development was surveillance missions. The success of CH-1 was followed by the establishment of the unmanned aerial vehicles program. The second drone of the CH series was CH-2. It is an upgraded version of CH-2. The successor of CH-2 was CH-3. This fixed-wing drone possesses a canard layout just like a Jetcruzer 450. Large winglets and canards replaced the vertical tail right at the center. A slightly modified variant of CH-3 was introduced, and there was one more addition in the CH series. The layout is similar to CH-5; however, the maximum payload is significantly greater than CH-3, i.e., 180 kg, compared to CH-3’s 80 kg.
CH-4, on the exterior, is quite similar to General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper; however, a minor distinctive feature of MQ-9 is its ventral fin beneath its V-tail. There are two variants of CH-,4, i.e., CH-4A and CH-4B, respectively. CH-4A is more surveillance-oriented with a range of up to 5000 km and an extended 40 hours survival capacity. At the same time, the CH-4B can perform both roles of surveillance and attack. It can carry up to 6 weapons along with a payload of 240 – 345 kg. Another variant of the CH-4 family is CH-4C, which is still under the testing phase. Experts say that CH-4C will be considerably better than the existing CH-4B due to its larger payload, enhanced electric power generation, efficient data handling, and ability to carry a broad range of payloads. CH-4C will be a significant addition to the Rainbow series.
Export to Pakistan:
In Januarys 2021, Pakistan received five CH-4 UAVs from its all-time ally, china. This multi-role drone and ultimate survivor met the defense requirements of Pakistan. The data was published on the Pakistan EXIM Trade Info webpage. The five CH-4 UAVs arrived in Khanewal city of Punjab on 15th January 2021. These drones were sent by Chinese Aerospace Long March International, a defense contractor of China. Out of the different variants of CH-4, Pakistan’s recently arrived CH-4s are still unknown. Another uncertainty is whether this batch is a part of a more significant order of UAVs or just a tiny acquirement of this specific Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.