African Countries With Operational Armed Drones.

While in previous decades military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were very simple pieces of equipment, the technology has advanced rapidly. They are now used all over the world and are a multi-billion dollar industry.

While the Israelites pioneered the first missile firing armed drone, the United States became the first country to use a true armed drone in combat in 2001. Now there are at least 28 countries with armed drones in their military, and we know at least nine (the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan) have actually used them in operations.

This article will look at the only two African countries that currently fields armed drones and heavily involved in developing and producing military UAV: EGYPT and NIGERIA.

Egypt has three CH-5 UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle)

– Mission: Recon and Air-to-Ground attack
– Speed: 220km/h
– Range: 6,500 – 10,000km
– Endurance: 40-60 hours
– Armament: 6 hardpoints (16 missiles for 1,000kg playload)

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CH-4B UCAV

– Mission: Recon & Air-to-Ground attack
– Speed: 150-235km/h
– Endurance: 14-30 hours (armed/unarmed)
– Armament: 4 hardpoints for guided bomb & missiles (350kg payload)

The Chinese made CH-4 UAV is an improved version of the CH-3 Rainbow with better range, can carry heavier payload and a much higher service ceiling.

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CAIG Wing Loong Bow UCAV

The Chinese made Long Bow is the latest addition to Egypt’s formidable combat drone fleet.

Unarmed UAVs

United 40 UAV

UAE's united-40 tandem-wing armed drone Namrod missile Adcom Systems’ latest unmanned air vehicle  the United 40 (10).jpg

Meggitt BTT-3 Banshee

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Nigeria aquired five CH-3 Rainbow UCAV in 2014 ( one lost to a crash )

Mission: Recon and Air-to-Ground attack
– Speed: 180km/h
– Range: 6,500 – 10,000km
– Endurance: 20-40 hours
– Armament: Two hardpoints (4 missiles for 260kg playload)

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First set of in-house trained pilots for the CH-3A Rainbow UCAV

GULMA Tactical UAV

GULMA is the first production UAV built by engineers at the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology Kaduna.

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TSAIGUMIN Tactical UAV.

The latest addition to Nigeria’s drone fleet is the TSAIGUMI UAV. It is the second production UAV built by engineers at the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology Kaduna. It features longer range, higher loiter time and enhanced remote capture camera with thermal imaging.

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