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CASC CH-5 Rainbow - China, 2017

Detailing the development and operational history of the CASC CH-5 Rainbow Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).

 Entry last updated on 1/2/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  CASC CH-5 Rainbow  
Picture of CASC CH-5 Rainbow

The CASC CH-5 Rainbow is a newer, more potent, attack addition to the existing Rainbow UAV line to emerge from China.

The CASC CH-5 Rainbow is one of the newer additions to the indigenous Chinese Rainbow line of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The type has been developed for the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) meaning it can carry (and deliver with a level of precision) munitions of various types. The CH-5 more or less follows the American MQ-9 Reaper UCAV in both its form and function.

The aircraft exhibits a straight wing mainplane configuration and seats its conventional turbocharged piston-driven engine (of about 450 horsepower output) at the rear of the fuselage driving a multi-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" fashion. The vehicle is fully integrated into the existing CH-3 and CH-4 framework due to a shared data link infrastructure. The CH-5 has a reported mission endurance window of up to sixty hours, can fly at alttiudes nearing 30,000 feet and can carry a mission payload up to 2,205lb. The structure includes a wingspan of 68.8 feet and a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 6,000lb.

Planned future revisions to the series will include extended loitering times, improved operational ranges and broadened support for more potent munitions options.

Saudi industry is making plans to produce the CH-5 locally for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

CASC CH-5 Rainbow Specifications

Service Year: 2017
Status: Active, In-Service
Type: Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV)
National Origin: China
Manufacturer(s): China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) - China
Total Production: 50

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 0
Overall Length: 36.75 feet (11.2 meters)
Overall Width: 68.90 feet (21.00 meters)
Overall Height: 12.47 feet (3.80 meters)

Weight (Empty): 4,905 lb (2,225 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 5,997 lb (2,720 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Turbocharged conventional engine driving a multi-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in pusher arrangement.

Maximum Speed: 259 knots (298 mph; 480 kph)
Maximum Range: 5,400 nautical miles (6,214 miles; 10,000 km)
Service Ceiling: 29,528 feet (9,000 meters; 5.59 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

Variable: Precision-guided drop and air-launched munitions to include bombs and missiles. Mission payload of up to 2,205lb.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

China; Saudi Arabia

Model Variants

CH-5 - Base Series Designation

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