The CH-3 is armed version of the unarmed CH-1/CH-2 drone series. All of the products come from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and are part of the CASC "Rainbow" line of UAVs that began with the CH-1 and has since evolved into the CH-901 model. The series has found some global takers to date (2015) and provides modern tactical over-battlefield capabilities at a much reduced cost when compared to contemporary Western UAV products.
Externally, the CH-3 carries swept-back wing mainplanes along a streamlined fuselage that sports forward canards for additional stability and control. The mainplanes showcase large vertical fins ("winglets") at their tips and sport a single hardpoint each for the carrying and delivery of guided-missile ordnance. The undercarriage is wheeled, though fixed, under the aircraft's mass. At the rear of the fuselage is the engine installation which drives a three-bladed propeller unit in a "pusher" arrangement. Specifications include a wingspan of 8 meters while performance displays a 12-hour endurance window with a payload maximum of 80 kilograms. Range is 2,400 kilometers.
The Nigerian and Pakistani armies are confirmed operators of the CH-3 series. CH-3 designates early models while the CH-3A is a follow-up product which increases the line's mission payload (up to 180 kilograms maximum) while reducing the endurance window by half to six hours. This model also features a satellite data link as standard.
In October 2015, the Iraqi government released footage of a CASC Rainbow UAV being deployed operationally - proving its existence within the Iraqi military inventory and showcasing a new willingness by the government to expand beyond its purchases of American-made equipment.
Status Active, In-Service
[ 500 Units ] : China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) - China
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