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CASC CH-4 Rainbow


Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV)


China | 2014



"The CASC CH-4 Rainbow UCAV borrows heavily from the American MQ-9 Reaper UCAV drone series."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/22/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The CASC CH-4 is a dedicated Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) of Chinese origin. It is said to borrow heavily from the proven existing line of American MQ-9 Reaper UCAVs. Both are intended for the strike mission role through various precision-guided munitions and are designed to loiter over target areas for hours (the CH-4 sports a fourteen hour mission endurance window). Externally, comparisons to the American product are justifiable for the Chinese interpretation of the proven machine bears more than a passing resemblance to the MQ-9 right down to the outward-cranked tail fins (though there is no ventral fin), straight mainplane wings and fixed tricycle undercarriage - Chinese industry has not been shy in the past about copying foreign solutions to solve local problems.

The CH-4 is one of a long line of UAV products in the CASC "Rainbow" series of unmanned systems that include the CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3. Upon introduction, the CH-4 represented the largest of the Rainbow offerings and is currently marketed in two distinct forms: the "CH-4A" to be used primarily for reconnaissance and the "CH-4B" for the armed reconnaissance / general attack role.

As in the Reaper design, the CH-4 UCAV relies on a slender fuselage body containing the optics fit, avionics set, fuel stores and engine installation (the engine drives a similar three-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in a "pusher" arrangement). At the "chin" position is a blister housing the sensor kit with both Infra-Red (IR) and daytime (with zoom) capabilities as well as a laser rangefinder. The armament loadout supports both modern Chinese Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) as well as precision-guided drop bombs - up to 770lb of ordnance can be displayed across four to six total underwing hardpoints.

Currently (2017), the only known operators of the CH-4 are Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi military has already put the CH-4 through its combat paces against ISIS forces while the Saudis have deployed some of their fleet against Houthi rebels in that ongoing war. CASC is in talks with the Saudi Kingdom to arrange for local production of several hundred CH-4 drones for the oil-rich nation.

The CH-5 represents a slightly more advanced version of the CH-4, first-flying in August of 2015. This product features improved performance specifications including greater endurance and altitude.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

November 2019 - Jordan has placed its fleet of six CH-4 Rainbow UAVs for international sale citing less-than-desirable performance.

November 2020 - Nigeria is set to receive up to four CH-4 UAVs.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the CASC CH-4 Rainbow Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).
1 x Conventional engine developing an estimated 900 horsepower and driving three-bladed propelled in pusher arrangement.
Propulsion
217 mph
350 kph | 189 kts
Max Speed
47,375 ft
14,440 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
1,709 miles
2,750 km | 1,485 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the CASC CH-4 Rainbow Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).
0
(UNMANNED)
Crew
36.1 ft
11.00 m
O/A Length
65.6 ft
(20.00 m)
O/A Width
12.5 ft
(3.80 m)
O/A Height
3,527 lb
(1,600 kg)
Empty Weight
9,921 lb
(4,500 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the CASC CH-4 Rainbow Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) .
Four to six underwing hardpoints for the carrying of anti-tank / air-to-surface guided-missiles and precision-guided / conventional drop bombs / ordnance. Mission payload of up 770lb.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the CASC CH-4 Rainbow family line.
CH-4 "Rainbow" - Base Series Designation
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the CASC CH-4 Rainbow. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 500 Units

Contractor(s): China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) - China
National flag of China National flag of Egypt National flag of Iraq National flag of Jordan National flag of Nigeria National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

[ China; Egypt; Iraq; Jordan; Nigeria; Saudi Arabia ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (217mph).

Graph Average of 225 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
500
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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1 / 1
Image of the CASC CH-4 Rainbow
Image from Chinese internet.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
GROUND ATTACK
RECONNAISSANCE
UNMANNED
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The CASC CH-4 Rainbow Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) appears in the following collections:
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