Algerian evaluated the Chinese CH-4 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and acquired the type, which can be armed with guided weapons.
The CH-4, developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), has been undergoing testing with the Algerian military for some months, according to Air Forces Daily. One is reported to have crashed during testing at the Algerian Air Force’s base at Tindouf several months ago while a second one crashed on Sunday at the Ain Oussera Air Base. The UAV came down 100 metres short of the runway whilst preparing to land.
A Chinese CH-4B attack drone crashed this morning in the town of Berriche to the east of the Bir Rogaa air base in the Wilaya of Oum el-Bouaghi.about:blankImageUpload an image file, pick one from your media library, or add one with a URL.
In spite of three crashes, Algeria is apparently still very interested in acquiring the CH-4 (Cai Hong 4 or Rainbow 4), which appears to have been reversed engineered from the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. The UAV, with a takeoff weight of 1.3 tons and a payload of 350 kg, has a wingspan of 18 metres and a length of 8.5 metres. Top speed is 235 km/h and operational altitude is 3000-3500 metres, according to officially released data, while combat radius is 2000 km and endurance is 36 hours.
CAAA technical staff claim the CH-4 has four hard points capable of carrying two AR-1 laser-guided missiles and two FT-5 small guided bombs.
The CH-4 was first seen at the Zuhai airshow in 2012 and in the absence of Chinese military interest it seems the aircraft is aimed at the export market.
Algeria is looking for aerial reconnaissance platforms to track down various Maghreb-based terrorist groups, drug and arms traffickers and militants who have taken advantage of post-war chaos in Mali and Libya to destabilise the Sahel-Maghreb region.
Algeria currently flies Denel Seeker II UAVs and is believed to have ordered one new Seeker 400 system with three aircraft. The Seeker 400 is currently undergoing flight testing.
The reasons for the crash are unknown for the moment, but according to the ground crew CH-4 approached too fast during landing. According to experts, it is possible that the CH-4 lost contact with remotely operated pilots and crash landed near runway.
This is the third recorded crash of CH-4 drones in Algeria, the first two had taken place during the tests.
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