|CH-5 Rainbow; China's Predator knock-off (File Photo)|
The CH-5 ‘Rainbow’ drone made by China’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is finally ready to enter mass production, the Diplomat reported on Tuesday.
"The CH-5’s design has been finalized and we are ready to mass-produce it," the unmanned aerial vehicle’s project manager told China Daily.
The Rainbow is reportedly intended to compete with the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which became the only drone used by US forces as of July 1 of this year when the Predator was retired.
The company declined to specify who would be in the market to buy China’s new drones. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have previously bought Chinese drones after being spurned by American drone makers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
|US MQ-9 Reaper; Evolved Predator (File Photo)|
"For the US, that is a strategic and commercial blow," the business daily noted.
Chinese-made drones can be had for a fraction of the cost of General Atomics’ Predators and Reapers.
"We are attuned to what China is doing," a White House administration official told the Wall Street Journal.
The US was the first to engage in widespread drone war, with its attendant extralegal killing and unmitigated surveillance, but other countries are catching up.
The CH-5 can be used for anti-submarine warfare and ISR (intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance), and touts early warning capabilities, all while carrying up to two dozen missiles. The Rainbow can fly for up to 60 hours, too, which is three times longer than previous Chinese models, China Daily added.
This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.