CASC resumes UAV production and testing amid ongoing COVID-19 battle

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has resumed production and flight testing of its UAVs.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has resumed production and flight testing of its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) following a brief stoppage to address the COVID-19 virus, the company said on its official social media account in early March before removing the post for unspecified reasons.

CASC resumed activities

“Various preparations were carried out in full swing, including documentation, system development, field testing, [as well as] training and planning,” the company stated.

“[We also performed] various reviews including structural tolerance, airworthiness checks, final assembly preparation and user documentation and customer acceptance certificates for new UAVs,” it added, noting that flight testing has resumed and progressing at a normal pace.

CH Family of UAVs

The company has exported its Cai Hong (Rainbow, or CH) family of UAVs – which range from hand-launched mini-UAVs to armed medium altitude long endurance (MALE)-class platforms – to over 10 countries with known operators including Algeria, Iraq, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan.

New Facility

CASC announced in late December 2019 that it has expanded its UAV production capacity with a newly commissioned manufacturing facility in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

The company said the new facility, located in the 565 square-kilometre Taizhou Bay Circular Economy Industrial Agglomeration Zone, had been inaugurated on the same day.

The event also marked the delivery of the first batch of CH-4 MALE UAVs produced in Taizhou to the Zhejiang Department of Natural Resources, which have been specially configured to perform airborne survey and geospatial mapping operations.

The new facility is the latest among several CASC UAV production lines across the country and features an 80 m-long digital production line that can roll out a fully assembled CH-4 or CH-5 MALE UAV in less than seven days. Local reports indicate that its annual output capacity could be up to 200 UAVs.

by JR Ng