> our title:

China Test-Flies New UAV for ISR, Strike

> original title:

Chinese Reconnaissance and Strike Drone Conducts Test Flight

(Source: ChinaNews.com; posted Sept. 01, 2014)

China's reconnaissance and strike drone Rainbow NO.4 has conducted a test flight and completed simulation target practice, marking a major step forward for China's unmanned technology.

Rainbow NO.4 embarked on its maiden test flight straight from rolling out of the factory.

"The test flight was very successful today. During acceleration and deceleration, the drone kept taxing on a central line on the runway. It's well positioned to carry out the subsequent missions," Li Pingkun, head of Rainbow No.4 Project, said.

Rainbow NO.4, loaded with missiles and bombs, is always ready for a simulation target practice. The drone must be around airspace near its target to enable precise real-time reconnaissance or a sudden strike.

"To ensure sudden strike, we designed a very long wing of 18 meters, while the drone body is only 9 meters. This would improve its lift, and reduce drone weight," Li said.

The increasing use of unmanned drones, raises the question of whether they would come to replace traditional military manned flights.

The answer according to experts, is that the technology for unmanned flights is still not developed enough.

"In the future, when the smart processing capability is more developed, unmanned drone may dominate military attack. But with the current technology, I don't think it will be fully replaced manned technology. The current model is a hybrid of manned and unmanned military attack," Nie Haitao, deputy head of Chengdu Division, AVIC, said.

Experts says Rainbow NO.4 is characterized by its invisibility, carrying capacity, fast speed, strong defense and attack.

As China's technology improves, unmanned military drones like this one are set for further tests and development.