China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has announced that its Cai Hong 5 (Rainbow 5, or CH-5) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is ready for mass production after a successful test fight in Hebei Province, reports the Science and Technology Daily.
"The CH-5, compared with its contemporaries, has an improved high-power engine, expanded wingspan and increased the flight durations of up to 60 hours, with a combat radius to 2,000 kilometers," said military analyst Wang Qiang.
The CH-5 was firstly unveiled at Airshow China in November, 2016. While it is capable of carrying as much as 200 kilograms of ammunition, the CH-5 has also been designed for civilian use.
"It will play a powerful role not only in anti-terrorism, but also in marine security and surveillance," said Wang Qiang.
Including the CH-5, Chinese-made UAVs are quickly becoming some of the most popular in the world.
The Egyptian Air Force has a number of Chinese-made drones, and has been using them in the battle against the Islamic State. Allies of the United States, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, are also using Chinese UAVs more frequently, reports The Wall Street Journal. The paper suggests this is because the United States has refused to sell its higher-end drones to other countries.
Chinese-made drones currently make up around 60% of the consumer-level UAV market, which some US observers are describing as a "strategic and commercial failure" for Washington.
"We have the confidence to turn 'made in China' to 'intelligent manufacturing in China' in the near future," said Wang Qiang.