Chinese CH-5 Rainbow UAV vs US MQ-9 Reaper

CH – CaiHong – Rainbow

The CH-5 is the latest UCAV of the Rainbow series, with a wingspan of 21 metres, a payload of 1,000 kg, a maximum takeoff weight of over 3 tonnes, a service ceiling of 9 km, an endurance of up to 60 hours and a range of 10,000 km.

Thanks to shared data link it can cooperate with CH-3 and CH-4 drones. It conducted its maiden flight in August 2015 and its first airshow flight (in northern Hebei province) in July 2017.

The drone can carry 16 missiles at a single time. There were also plans to extend its range up to 20,00 km.

Chinese officials claimed the CH-5 Rainbow was similar in performance to the US MQ-9 Reaper and “may come in at less than half the price.”



Compared to the Garrett TPE331 turboprop engine mounted on the Reaper, CH-5 is equipped with an unidentified turbo-charged piston engine, with less than half the horsepower. This choice limits the maximum altitude of the CH-5 to 9 km compared to the 12–15 km of the Reaper, but it also extends CH-5’s endurance to 60 hours compared to 14 hour of the Reaper’s.

Future blocks of CH-5 will be able to stay in the air for up to 120 hours.