New series of Chinese assault drones takes flight
Military drones are set to boost attack and reconnaissance capabilities, while civilian versions command an increasing UAV market
China’s new all-weather strike-drone series Caihong-4, developed by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, has just wrapped up a six-day live-fire drill to test its compatibility with various types of ammunition for both extensive bombing and precise targeting, People’s Daily reports.
The CH-4 is an upgraded version of a drone that first took flight in 2015.
“The capacity and variety of its ordnance payload indicate the CH-4 can conduct effective air strikes on more targets, from longer distances with nimble, faster reaction,” the report said.
According to its developer, the CH-4 has better basic performance than that of US-based General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator, an industry leader, and is more competent in reconnaissance, surveillance, and strike missions.
The civilian version of the CH-4 can carry out geological surveying, ocean monitoring, meteorological observation and forest-fire prevention.
Meanwhile, the electric-power authorities in Shenzhen have showcased a new lineup of what is touted as China’s first laser drones tailor-made to tackle electrical breakdowns, sparing the city’s frontline grid-maintenance staff from facing hassle and danger.
Yu Peng, director of Shenzhen’s Electric Power and Supply Bureau, told Chinanews.com that the laser drones could, while working in tandem with two other specially designed counterparts, scan for electrical glitches while airborne thanks to binocular vision and automatic fault-detection systems and get rid of flaws in the system that could lead to power outages.
As well, a new Wing Loong series, another drone developed by the Aviation Industry Corp of China, made its debut at the Singapore Airshow this week.
China’s drone-manufacturing industry has been expanding rapidly in recent years thanks to extensive use of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technologies for everything from aerial photography, surveying and mapping to early warning and reconnaissance by the military.
Total market value of the nation’s UAV industry is tipped to grow by 40% a year on average to 60 billion yuan (US$9.1 billion) by 2020, Xinhua reports, citing a report by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.