Chinese web portal China.org.cn reported that the Chinese Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics’s (CAAA) Caihong (Rainbow) drone will be finished by the middle of the year. The massive solar-powered drone has wingspan of over 40 meters making it similar in size to Google’s Aquila drone.
A Chinese engineer is quoted as saying the drone will be the largest solar-powered drone in the world. But this is an inaccurate claim (NASA’s Helios drone has a wingspan of roughly 75.3 meters), although if put into mass production, it would be the largest solar-powered drone being produced at such levels.
Ideally, just like the Aquila drone, it could be airborne for months at a time. The CAAA sees it doing tasks like aerial reconnaissance, disaster monitoring and communication relay.
Besides using the Rainbow drones at home, China is also looking to sell the drone. According to the article, the CAAA started work on the Rainbow drone to break the monopoly of US drones in the global arms market. Already the Chinese have reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia to build the drone.