The largest drone developed by China made its first flight in the province of Gansu. As per reports by Chinese media, the maiden flight of the drone was 20 minutes long. However, the reports associated with the drone, named Rainbow 5, suggest that the drone has the capability of staying in the air for more than 30 hours at a time. This makes this drone one of the most effective drones ever developed as it can be used for otherwise difficult surveillance missions.
The size of the drone can be estimated by the fact that it weights nearly 3 tons and it has a wingspan of 66 feet. This drone is China’s first entry into the field of heavyweight drones which had been largely dominated by drones developed by the United States. The Rainbow 5, also called Caihong 5, is similar in size to the Reaper drone developed in the U.S.
Ou Zhongming, the chief designer of the drone from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, highlighted that the strong radar attached to the drone enables it to detect objects through walls and it has the potential to completely alter the way drones are used by the military in counterterrorism missions.
This drone can be very helpful for Chinese military in carrying out missions that require very strong surveillance. Chinese authorities do not allow drones to fire at a target unless the ground personnel provide confirmation. However with the introduction of the radar technology attached with Rainbow 5, the drone can be operated without continuous support from ground personnel.
Although numerous American surveillance drones also use the wall-penetrating radar technology, the designers of Rainbow 5 emphasize that their technology has greater potential for warfare in the future. China is on track to be one of the biggest markets for civilian drones as well as more than 400 companies are involved in the business.