- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A brochure from a Chinese state-run company reveals new details about one of Beijing’s attack drones — called the Cai Hong-3 (CH-3), or Rainbow-3 — being offered for sale to foreign customers.

A catalog obtained by the U.S. government from China Aerospace Long-March International reveals details of the CH-3 and a missile-firing variant called the CH-3A.

The catalog provides a rare inside look at China’s drone arsenal. The CH-3 is one of nine drones being offered for sale around the world, ranging in size from very small to large-scale unmanned aerial vehicles. Several drones appear to be knockoffs of U.S.-designed remotely piloted aircraft, including the Predator strike drone and Global Hawk long-range spy drone.

“Featuring high reconnaissance effectiveness, high anti-jamming capability, diversified payloads, integrated reconnaissance/attack, easy operation and simple maintenance, the UAVs can be used for such military operations as battlefield reconnaissance intelligence collection, anti-terrorism combat, no-fly zone patrol, firing calibration, data relay and electronic warfare,” the catalog states.

The drone has been sold to Pakistan and Nigeria, where an armed CH-3A was photographed after it crashed during a mission to hit Boko Haram terrorists.

The CH-3 appears to be a copy of the Jetcruzer small civil aircraft that was built by U.S. company Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc., which sold 30 Jetcruzer 500s to China in 2000.

The Chinese company also is selling two types of missiles to be fired from what it calls an “advanced medium-range UAV system.” The package includes three aircraft and a vehicle-mounted ground control system. The drone can take off and land via a remote pilot and has a retractable nose landing gear.

“The advantages of this UAV system are high reliability, high efficiency and low cost,” the catalog states. “It can be used for various flight missions such as battle zone reconnaissance, artillery fire adjustment, data-link relay, intelligence collection and electronic warfare, etc.

“CH-3A UAV can be equipped with precision guided weapons to complete reconnaissance and strike missions.”

The unarmed version has a range of 1,500 miles and can fly for 12 hours. The missile-equipped variant can fly 621 miles, has a flight time of six hours and can carry up to 400 pounds of bombs.

Among the payloads for use on the CH-3 are a four-lens electro-optical reconnaissance camera, a synthetic aperture radar capable of seeing through clouds and some structures and an airborne electronic warfare system.

The missiles that can be fired from the CH-3A include the company’s AR-1 air-to-ground armor-piercing missile that is laser-guided for precision attacks against tanks, vehicles and fixed structures. It has a range of 3 to 5 miles, with an extended range version up to 10 miles.

Additionally, the drone can carry the FT-1 precision-guided bomb.

Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @BillGertz.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide