22nd September 2023 – (Beijing) The recently unveiled KVD002 armed reconnaissance drone of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Army has apparently been involved in patrols and exercises around Taiwan since 2022, initially identified as the CH-4, according to analysts. Following its public debut at the 6th China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin last week, media reports emerged suggesting that the KVD002 is a variant of the renowned CH-4 drone, customized specifically for the PLA Army.
Observers at the expo noted that the aerodynamic design of the KVD002 bore a striking resemblance to that of the CH-4, and it carried the AR-1 air-to-ground missile, developed by Aerospace CH UAV company, the creator of the CH drone series.
As of now, neither the PLA Army nor Aerospace CH UAV company have officially commented on the relationship between the KVD002 and the CH-4.
Unbeknownst to the defence authorities on Taiwan, CH-4 armed reconnaissance drones have sporadically been reported since September 2022 during PLA’s patrols and exercises around the island. These activities have also occasionally included Z-10 attack helicopters and KVD001 reconnaissance drones of the PLA Army.
Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, stated that the CH-4 had demonstrated its capabilities internationally, making it a natural choice of interest for domestic users such as the PLA Army. Fu added that the KVD002 is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions around Taiwan and launching precision strikes when necessary.
Prior to being commissioned as the KVD002 in the PLA Army, over 200 units of the CH-4 had been sold on the international market by November 2022, according to Aerospace CH UAV company.
Another prominent Chinese drone series, the Wing Loong, has already been commissioned by the PLA Air Force and designated as the GJ.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, confirmed that all branches of the PLA, including the Army, Air Force, and Navy, have deployed drones in exercises around Taiwan.
Analysts have noted that China’s drone industry offers a wide range of products, including large and small drones, as well as technologically advanced and cost-efficient options, from various suppliers in sectors such as aviation, aerospace, weapons, and the private industry.
According to the description provided at the helicopter expo, as the PLA Army’s first armed reconnaissance drone, the KVD002 can carry out precision strikes on hostile air defence systems, armoured targets, and fortifications. It can also cooperate with helicopters by providing reconnaissance data, escorting and guiding targets, as well as conducting independent reconnaissance and strikes.
The KVD002 is renowned for its exceptional overall performance, ease of operation and maintenance, expandability for additional missions, and its ability to conduct short takeoff and landing in plateau regions, as stated in the description.
This indicates that the KVD002 is designed to be utilised in various terrains across the country, not solely limited to the Taiwan Straits, according to observers.