Beijing air expo sees UAV programmes vying for attention

The CH-4 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UCAV, seen here at IDEX 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (IHS/Patrick Allen)In the absence of new product unveilings at the 15th Beijing Aviation Expo held on 25-28 September, the takeaway may be that the Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle market is massively fragmented, with various bodies competing for the same government contracts or segments of the export market.

The CH-4 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UCAV, seen here at IDEX 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (IHS/Patrick Allen)

An intriguing contender for one of these programmes is the Cai Hong 4 (CH-4 or Rainbow 4), a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UCAV developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA).

According to officially released specifications, it has a wingspan of 18 m, a length of 8.5 m, and a top speed of 235 kmh.

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