The wreckage of an armed drone turned up in northeast Nigeria on Tuesday near the epicenter of the West African country’s violent Islamist insurgency. A Borno State publication KSM News, published on Facebook that an unmanned drone suspected to be used in the counter-insurgency operation in the Northeast has crashed at Dumge village of Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State. Dumge is 30km northeast of Maiduguri.
Pictures of the wreckage show an unmanned combat aerial vehicle that closely resembles the CH-3 drone made by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Missiles fixed to two hardpoints and a sensor payload are all apparent in the images.
China’s CH-3 drone, which made its debut at the 2008 Zhuhai Air Show, can reportedly carry two laser-guided AR-1 air-to-ground missiles, similar to the U.S. Hellfire missile.
China’s development of sophisticated and—relatively—cheaper drones has also encouraged customers in the developing world.
“The United States doesn’t export many attack drones, so we’re taking advantage of that hole in the market,” a Chinese aerospace official once told The Washington Post.
China reportedly offered to sell the CH-3 UCAV to Pakistan. Pakistan has since produced two drones, the Burraq and Shahpar, which appear very similar to the CH-3, although officials claim to have developed the aircraft indigenously.
Officials from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation have stated that the company developed the CH-4—another UCAV in the company’s family of drones—with exports in mind. Algeria has expressed interest in purchasing the aircraft.
There are also rumors that China sold the Pterodactyl, a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone which bears a striking resemblance to America’s Predator drone, to some five countries, including Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates.
The Yilong is capable of carrying air-to-ground missiles and guided bombs.
But despite the similarities in appearance between China’s CH-3 UCAV and the wreckage in Nigeria, confirmation of a sale between the two countries is still lacking.
Source: War is Boring