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Chinese combat drones market continues to grow in the Middle East

Chinese-made military drones market continues to grow for the Chinese Defense Industry, especially in the Middle East region. In less than one month will open Air Show China 2018, that will take place in Zhuhai from the 6 to 11 November 2018, an opportunity for Chinese drones manufacturers to demonstrate and showcase latest products in the field of UASs and UAVs.

Chinese combat drones market continues to grow in the Middle East 925 001
Chinese-made Cloud-Shadow MALE armed drone at AirShow China 2016. (Picture source Army Recognition)

At the 2016 Zhuhai Airshow, China displayed five armed drones, the Wing Loong I, Wing Loong II, WJ-600A/D, Yunying Cloud Shadow, and the CH-5 (Rainbow 5). The CH-5 is China’s most heavily armed UAV to date, with the capacity to carry 16 air-to surface msilles. In the last two years, the PLA has also unveiled an armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) UAV (Gongji 1) and has deployed UAVs to the South China Sea.

Last year, China sold drones Wing Loong II to the UAE that seems very similar to the American MQ-9 Reaper but for less price. Other countries in the Middle East have also purchased drones from China, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Middle East is an important market for the Chinese defense industry, many countries seeks to acquire that types of military products to fight terrorist groups in te region. In 2017, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman visited Beijing to sign a number of trade deals and contracts that included an agreement for the manufacturing of combat drones in Saudi Arabia.

According to military sources, Chinese defense industry has already factories in Pakistan and Myanmar that produce CH-4 drone. China sold armed UAVs to several states in the Middle East and North Africa, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

China continues the development of MALE unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to increase China’s ability to conduct long range ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) and strike missions. In 2015, media reported the development of the Shendiao (Sacred Eagle or Divine Eagle) as new Chinese Armed Forces high-altitude, long-endurance UAV for a variety of missions such as early warning, targeting, EW, and satellite communications.

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