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In recent years, China has been putting the pedal to the metal in drone development and production. Chinese civilians drones are everywhere, far outpacing their western competitors. And while the People’s Republic’s military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are far from the level of their American competitors, they are certainly not children’s toys. China has been heavily investing in their development and exporting them to buyers around the world, and they’re seeing action and delivering results.

Myanmar’s military has confirmed that it has been using Chinese combat UAVs in clashes with ethnic rebels for counter-insurgency operations in the north of the country, UAS Vision reports. Myanmar first acquired drones for its Air Force in 2013 or 2014. These Chinese-built CH-3A (Cai Hong 3A or Rainbow 3A) UAVs have been deployed on sorties from an airfield presumed to be in either Bhamo in southeastern Kachin State or Lashio in Shan State.

Earlier reports of UAV deployment were confirmed by a photo disseminated through Facebook, likely taken by a serviceman on his smartphone and posted to his personal account.

Although no hard data is available, it is thought Myanmar operates about a dozen CH-3A UAVs. “The CH-3A is a variant of the CH-3 fixed-wing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), featuring a 180 kg maximum payload and an endurance of six hours. The CH-3A matches the CH-3 for range, at 960 kilometers. In terms of armaments, the CH-3A is capable of fielding AR-1 laser-guided air-to-surface missiles and YC-200 guided bombs,” writes UAS Vision.

The bulk of the Myanmar Air Force equipment comes from China, apart from 31 Russian MiG-29 fighters. The CH-3A are the most advanced armed UAVs in Myanmar’s arsenal, but the country also employs domestic versions of Chinese UAVs: 11 Sky-02A surveillance drones and 22 Yellow Cat A2s.