Monday, April 19, 2021

Pakistan Bulk Buying Chinese Version Of MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ Drones From Beijing – Reports

As India-China tensions turn into an ugly stalemate at the LAC, a new report has rung alarm bells for the Indians – but this time from its western border.

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Several reports surfaced on Monday claiming that Pakistan may deploy Chinese CH-4 drones near the Line of Control (the de-facto border between Pakistan and India in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh) to strike Indian assets deployed in the region.

According to the information given by intelligence sources claimed by the Indian news outlet Zee News, Pakistan may be in process of procuring and fielding the CH-4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from China in big numbers.

Zee quoting its sources also claimed that a 10-member Pakistani team led by Brigadier Mohammed Zafar Iqbal reached China to oversee the procurement process from Aerospace Long-March International Trade Company (ALIT).

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It was also revealed that Brigadier Iqbal had earlier visited China in December 2019 for the factory acceptance test of the first tranche of Cai Hong-4 (CH-4) for which delivery was to commence in 2020.

The UAV, which is deemed to be a Chinese copy of the American MQ-9 “Reaper” drone can carry 6 weapons on its hardpoints and a payload of up to 345 kgs. While the armed version CH-4B exists, the unarmed CH-4A is a long-endurance medium-altitude drone.

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The aircraft is not stealthy and is reportedly capable of firing air-to-ground munitions from a maximum height of 16,000 feet. China has already confirmed the export of the armed Wing Loong-II drones to Pakistan earlier in 2018.

As the US assists China’s rivals like India, Taiwan, and Japan with the latest state-of-art weapons, the move of supplying Pakistan with high-technology drones is seen as a response to this strategy. “China is helping Pakistan to do so”, said the source.

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