Iraq unveils CH-4 UAVs

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Iraq unveils CH-4 UAVs

Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
13 October 2015

A photograph released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence on 10 October shows one of the Iraqi Army's CH-4 UAVs armed with what appear to be an AR-1 laser-guided missile and FT-9 guided bomb. Source: Iraqi MoD

Iraq has confirmed that the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) CH-4 armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system is in service with the aviation branch of its army.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 10 October that a UAV had carried out its first attack on a target in Al-Anbar province. It also released a video showing Defence Minister Khalid al-Obaidi inspecting one of the new UAVs at Kut Air Base, 150 km southwest of Baghdad.

Although not identified by the MoD, the UAV was clearly a CASC CH-4: a type often described as the Chinese equivalent of the MQ-1 Predator medium-altitude, long-endurance platform.

It has been in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) since at least August 2014, when it was seen firing air-to-surface missiles in Chinese media coverage of a military exercise.

The presence of CH-4s in Iraq had been known since March, when an Iraqi blog released images of the aircraft that emerged on social media. One showed three CH-4s under camouflage covers in front of a hangar with what appeared to be a faded Iraqi flag on its door.

The latest announcement confirmed the Iraqi UAVs are armed variants, which are reportedly designated as the CH-4B.

The video and still images released by the MoD showed the CH-4 carrying what appeared to be an AR-1 laser-guided missile under wing and a FT-9 guided bomb under the other.

According to information released at China's Zuhai Air Show last year, the FT-9 is a 50 kg weapon that can be guided using a combination GPS and inertial navigation system (INS) or fitted with a range of electro-optic sensors for TV, infrared, and semi-active laser guidance. The one on the Iraqi CH-4 did not have an electro-optic sensor, so is presumably the GPS/INS-guided version.
Iraq unveils CH-4 UAVs - IHS Jane's 360
 
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