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Drone series makes international mark

Updated: 2016-04-20
By (chinadaily.com.cn)
1

A number of foreign nations are awaiting delivery of China’s CH series military drones, one of the country’s most popular products on the international arms market.
The drone family, bearing the name Cai Hong, which means rainbow in Chinese, is considered by experts to be one of the most lethal air platforms on the planet. The newest and largest capacity combat drone in the series, the CH-5, is awaiting government approval for export.
“The total value of contracts we signed in 2015 could definitely be one of the highest in terms of armed drone deals made last year on the international market,” Shi Wen, chief drone designer at the Beijing-based China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
The academy, part of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, is one of China’s largest military drone developers. Its CH series drones have been sold to 20 military users from more than 10 foreign countries, and are the largest drone family China has exported, Shi said.
The early models, CH-1 and CH-2, are small, unarmed reconnaissance craft that have a proven record in locating and monitoring targets. The larger ones — the CH-3 midrange, combat and reconnaissance drone and CH-4 mid-altitude, long-endurance armed drone — immediately attracted buyers seeking powerful, but affordable, unmanned aircraft.
“Our best-selling type so far is the CH-3, while the CH-4 has also received many orders,” Shi said, adding that many additional countries have expressed a “strong desire” to buy CH drones, but have yet to do so because of their sluggish economies.
Shi declined to disclose which countries have purchased the CH series, only revealing the academy’s most valuable sale was worth “hundreds of millions of United States dollars”.

A number of foreign nations are awaiting delivery of China’s CH series military drones, one of the country’s most popular products on the international arms market.

The drone family, bearing the name Cai Hong, which means rainbow in Chinese, is considered by experts to be one of the most lethal air platforms on the planet. The newest and largest capacity combat drone in the series, the CH-5, is awaiting government approval for export.

“The total value of contracts we signed in 2015 could definitely be one of the highest in terms of armed drone deals made last year on the international market,” Shi Wen, chief drone designer at the Beijing-based China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

The academy, part of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, is one of China’s largest military drone developers. Its CH series drones have been sold to 20 military users from more than 10 foreign countries, and are the largest drone family China has exported, Shi said.

The early models, CH-1 and CH-2, are small, unarmed reconnaissance craft that have a proven record in locating and monitoring targets. The larger ones — the CH-3 midrange, combat and reconnaissance drone and CH-4 mid-altitude, long-endurance armed drone — immediately attracted buyers seeking powerful, but affordable, unmanned aircraft.

“Our best-selling type so far is the CH-3, while the CH-4 has also received many orders,” Shi said, adding that many additional countries have expressed a “strong desire” to buy CH drones, but have yet to do so because of their sluggish economies.

Shi declined to disclose which countries have purchased the CH series, only revealing the academy’s most valuable sale was worth “hundreds of millions of United States dollars”.

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