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​Chinese CH-5 UAV ready for international sales

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) CH-5 UAV is ready for the international arms market, following the maiden flight of the type's first production model.

The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV was airborne for more than 20 minutes, according to a report in the China Daily. Officials are reported as saying that several countries are interested in the system, which is designed for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission.

Officials say that the type's production design is now fixed.

The report makes several notable claims. These include that the aircraft can carry up to 24 munitions, "making it strong enough to take out a convoy of armoured vehicles".

It also says that with "certain devices", the CH-5 can "detect underwater targets such as submarines".

It is not clear how much testing the CH-5 has undergone, but the prototype first emerged on state television in 2015, with a first flight in August of that year.

CASC says its CH series of UAVs have been sold to up to 10 customers overseas. These include Iraq, which released a video and pictures of its first CH-4B rainbow taking off from Kut airbase.

The aircraft is outwardly similar to the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper, which also has a 20m wingspan. Like the Reaper, it has a V-tail as well as a ventral fin below, and its tricycle landing gear layout is also similar.

At the Paris air show in June, AVIC displayed a mockup of its Wing Loong II armed UAV at the show's static park. According to AVIC, the Wing Loong II has a maximum take-off weight of 4,200kg (9,260lb), nearly four times greater than its predecessor. It also has six hard points, compared with just two for its sibling.

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