First Look at China’s Substantial New Twin-Engined Long-Endurance Armed Combat Drone the CH-6

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The CH-6 seems to be situated in a capability between its medium-altitude, medium-endurance, unstealthy unmanned combat aircraft counterparts. Image: Taihu/Weibo

China CH-6: From September 28 to October 3, during China’s big international airshow in Zhuhai city, south China’s Guangdong Province, the developers will display plenty of exciting aircraft models.

One of them is China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation’s Cai Hong (Rainbow) 6, better known as the CH-6. The CH-6 is a large, high-altitude, high-speed, long-endurance, multi-purpose unmanned aircraft system.

The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned system is designed for intelligence gathering, support, and strike roles. Also, the device is distinguished by great flight range and carrying capacity.

The CH-6 UAV’s parameters include maximum takeoff weight of 7.8 tons, maximum load capacity of 300 kg (reconnaissance type) or 2 tons (reconnaissance-attack type), fuel capacity of 3.42 tons (reconnaissance type) or 1.72 tons (reconnaissance-attack type), overall length of 15 meters, wingspan of 20.5 meters, height of 5 meters, maximum level flight speed of 800 km/h, cruise speed of 500 km/h to 700 km/h, cruise altitude of 10 km, ceiling of 12 km, a maximum endurance of 20 hours (reconnaissance type) or 8 hours (reconnaissance-attack type), a maximum range of 12,000 km (reconnaissance type) or 4,500 km (reconnaissance-attack type), a maximum climb rate of 20 m/s, and an operating radius (apparent) of 300 km.

The site of the 2021 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition where the CH-6 was presented. Coords: 22°01’14.51″ N 113°22’56.89″ E. Sat imagery date: 01.14.2018. Artwork by the author. Imagery courtesy Google Earth and CIAAE. Click here or on image for higher resolution image.

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