The Caihong-4, CH-4, is a long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) featuring a battery life of 40 hours. Externally, CH-4 looks almost identical to General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, and the only distinct visual difference between two UAVs is that the ventral fin below the V-tail on MQ-9 is absent on CH-4. There are two versions, the CH-4A and CH-4B. The CH-4A is a reconnaissance drone (capable of a 3500–5000 km range and a 30- to 40-hour endurance) while the CH-4B is a mixed attack and reconnaissance system with provisions for 6 weapons and a payload of up to 250 to 345 kg.
CH-4 is capable of firing air-to-ground missile from altitude of 5,000 meters, therefore the aircraft can stay outside of effective range of most anti-aircraft guns. It also allow CH-4 to be able to fire from a position that provides wider viewing area.
Vasiliy Kashin, a China specialist at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said that The CH-4B UCAV has been exported to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
The CH-4 has an operational ceiling of 8,000 m (26,246 ft), a maximum range of 3,500 km (2,175 miles), and a maximum take-off weight of 1,330 kg. The UAV can carry up to 345 kg of weapon or mission payload, with 165 kg fuel. It can fly continuously for up to 38 hours, though this reduces to 14 hours when operating to maximum payload and fuel.
The CH-4 is 9 m in total length and 18 m in wingspan, with 80% of its airframe made of composite materials. The UAV has four underwing pylons (75 kg payload on outer pylons and 120 kg payload on inner pylons). The UAV can carry 4 to 6 AR-1 semi-active laser-guided missiles. The missile is 1.45 m in length, 0.18 m in diameter, and 45 kg in mass. It has an effective range of 2 to 8 km, and an accuracy of under 1.5 m CEP. It has a penetration depth of 1,000 mm when used against armoured targets and 1,200 mm against ground buildings.