A shipment containing an unspecified number of CH-4 Drones from China was received in Pakistan on January 15.
According to a customs extract quoted by Pakistani website Quwa, 21 pieces of equipment other than drones were exported by China’s defense contractor Aersopace Long-March International Trade (ALIT). The import customer was mentioned as “Headquarters Civil Works Organization.”
A description in the customs declaration seems to suggest that 4 number of Ch-4 UAVs along with supporting equipment in 5 cases was delivered.These could be an initial batch ahead of a larger acquisition, or a small-scale purchase for testing or limited utilization.
Pakistan joins Iraq, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Myanmar, and Jordan as an operator of the CH-4. It is unclear if Pakistan ordered the CH-4A or CH-4B.
The CH-4 drone has a maximum take-off weight of 1300 kg and a payload of 345 kg in addition to its electro-optical turret and synthetic aperture radar. The aircraft has a wingspan of 18 metres and length of 8.5 metres. It is powered by a 100 hp class piston engine giving a top speed of 235 km/h and cruise speed of 180 km/h with endurance of up to 40 hours.
Equipped with air to ground missiles such as the AR-2, the CH-4 presents itself as formidable close-combat weapon, especially when up against targets which don’t have drone detection technology.
The CH series of drones is one of China’s most successful military exports and western analysts believe it is modelled on the U.S.-made MQ-9 Reaper.
Pakistan Aeronautics Complex (PAC) and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation in 2018 said they would produce Wing Loong II UAV (GJ-2) for Pak Air Force together. This drone is intended for use as a surveillance and aerial reconnaissance, and precision strike platform. Wing Loong II has long range strike capability with a satellite link.
Compared to the CH-4, the Wing Loong II has greater maximum take-off weight of 4,200kg. It can attain speeds of up to 370km/h and has an endurance of 32 hours.