There are going to be plenty of exciting aircraft to be displayed on China’s big international airshow in Zhuhai from September 28 to October 3 and we are already getting a glimpse of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation’s Cai Hong (Rainbow) 6, the CH-6.
According to China-Arms.com, which claims to have all the basic facts about the new jet drone, the “CH-6 is a large, high-altitude, high-speed, long-endurance, multi-purpose unmanned aircraft system. It adopts a conventional large span-to-string ratio aerodynamic layout, with the outstanding advantages of high flight altitude, strong load capacity, long endurance and long range, high system reliability, and load scalability.”
This is exciting news as so far we have only seen models and low-fidelity renderings of the jet. The new drone looks kind of like a CH-5, the only difference is that it has a high T-tail setup and its mid-set long wings are swept.
It boasts a maximum takeoff weight of 7.8 tons and a maximum load capacity of 661 lb (300 kg) (reconnaissance configuration) or 2 tons (reconnaissance-attack configuration). It also features a fuel capacity of 3.42 tons (reconnaissance configuration) or 1.72 tons (reconnaissance-attack configuration).
Its overall length is 49 feet (15 meters), its wingspan is 67 feet (20.5 meters), and its height is 16 feet (5 meters). It can achieve maximum level flight speeds of 497 mph (800 km/h), cruise speeds of 310 mph to 434 mph (500 km/h to 700 km/h), a cruise altitude of 6.21 mi (10 km), a ceiling of 7.45 mi (12 km), a maximum endurance of 20 hours (reconnaissance configuration) or 8 hours (reconnaissance-attack configuration), a maximum range of 7,546 mi (12,000 km) (reconnaissance configuration) or 2,796 mi (4,500 km) (reconnaissance-attack configuration), a maximum climb rate of 65 ft/s (20 m/s), and an operating radius (apparent) of 186 mi (300 km).
It is one of China’s largest UAVs in terms of takeoff weight and can mount a variety of loads such as electronic reconnaissance and air-to-ground missiles. It can also be used as an aerial long-duration stationary platform.