Development of China's CH-7 stealth drone to finish in 2024
Published: Jan 30, 2024 08:35 PM
Prototypes of most CH-7 stealth UAV and other Caihong series drones, and FH-97A displayed in the exhibition hall of the Airshow China 2022. Photo: Tao Ran, courtesy of Caihong UAV of CASC

Prototypes of the most advanced CH-7 stealth UAV and other CH series drones, as well as the FH-97A drone, are displayed in the exhibition hall of the Airshow China 2022. Photo: Tao Ran, courtesy of CH UAV of CASC

 After receiving new designs to further enhance effectiveness in information-based combat in modern warfare, China's CH-7 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has completed tests and its development is scheduled to finish this year. Chinese observers expect the drone to make a new appearance at the upcoming Airshow China in November.

The development of the CH-7 is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, with prototype tests already verifying the aircraft's outstanding performance and effectiveness of its airframe structural design, the Global Times learned on Tuesday from the Aerospace CH UAV Co Ltd, the developer of the drone.

The announcement indicates smooth progress for the CH-7's development, analysts said.

Featuring a flying wing configuration that represents a high level of stealth capability and long range, the CH-7 made its debut at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, attracting broad interest from both professionals and the general public.

Four years later, at Airshow China 2022, a new version of the CH-7 was put on display, redesigned to meet the demand for high-end UAVs sought by potential clients in future asymmetric warfare.

The new CH-7 has a 26-meter wingspan, four meters longer than the original version, and a service ceiling of 15 kilometers, higher than the original version's 10-13 kilometers, meaning that it can fly higher and stay longer in the mission zone, be more focused on round-the-clock reconnaissance and monitoring in highly dangerous environments, and be able to keep detecting hostile targets for a longer time, Shi Wen, chief engineer of the CH series drone, told the Global Times at Airshow China 2022.

With a maximum takeoff weight of 10 tons, the CH-7 can also carry large missiles or guide other weapons to strike high-value enemy targets, Shi said.

Its stealthy design means that it is also able to effectively shorten enemy radar's detection range and continue containing the enemy's anti-air firepower, and greatly improve the effectiveness in information-based combat, Shi noted.

Airshow China 2024 is scheduled to be held from November 12 to 17 in Zhuhai, and observers are hopeful to see new information about the completed CH-7 by then.