China is going soon to offer the only stealth drone available in the market.
And it has even greater weapons-carrying capacity than some manned fighter jets.
The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, the country’s largest military drone exporter by number of products sold overseas, will display its latest combat model-the CH-7 high-altitude, long-endurance stealth drone-at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition.
Commonly known as the Zhuhai Airshow, the exhibition is one of the largest arms shows in the world. This year’s event will open on Tuesday in Zhuhai in Guangdong province.
Globally, several aviation powers including the United States, Russia and France are developing stealth combat drones-for instance, the RQ-170 and X-47B of the US, and France’s Dassault nEUROn.
However, these models are either not available in the international market or are for experimental purposes only, rather than mass production.
So the CH-7 will be the sole option for buyers wanting to field stealth combat drones, sources said.
Shi Wen, chief designer of the CH series, said the new model is scheduled to make its first flight in 2019, and if everything goes well, mass production and deliveries will follow around 2022.
He said that existing combat drones in the international market are suitable for low-intensity warfare, such as counterterrorism operations, but cannot handle high-tech conflicts that usually involve fighter jets or modern air-defense missiles.
By comparison, the characteristics of the CH-7, such as its high speed and stealth capability, make it a good fit for high-tech confrontations.>