Chinese drones make key breakthrough, firing on command by satellite

(From Popular Science/Eastern Arsenal)

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer

Chinese drones such as the CH-3 and CH-4 have become a key part of the proliferation of the technology, joining China’s air force as well as being sold to a wide range of foreign partners, from Myanmar to Saudi Arabia. They have even recently used in battlefields that range from Nigeria to Iraq. However, some have argued that the significance of these systems is overblown, as unlike their satellite link-equipped American counterparts, Chinese-made armed drones could not truly conduct what is known as a “remote split operation.” In these operations, the ground controllers are located at great distances from the drone, linked by satellite. Up to this point, Chinese-made drones relied on direct line-of-sight communications with their ground control station, which dramatically limits their range to within a few hundred kilometers of their base. Read more

CH-4 This CH-4 drone is carrying two satellite-guided bombs on its inner pylons, and two Blue Arrow 7/9 anti-tank missiles on the outer pylons. The CH-4's electro-optical sensor turret is retracted in flight, under the fuselage, to reduce drag.

CH-4
This CH-4 drone is carrying two satellite-guided bombs on its inner pylons, and two Blue Arrow 7/9 anti-tank missiles on the outer pylons. The CH-4’s electro-optical sensor turret is retracted in flight, under the fuselage, to reduce drag.



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