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Wing Loong attack drones for Serbia, first Chinese contract in Europe.

| 2019

The Serbian army will receive nine Chinese-built Chengdu Pterodactyl-1 armed drones (otherwise named Wing Loong) in the near future. This will be the first time Chinese drones have been bought by a European country. Fifteen additional units may follow, media reports in Belgrade said.

Wing Loong attack drones for Serbia first Chinese contract in Europe
Chengdu Pterodactyl-1, or Wing Loong (Picture source: Army Recogniton)

This Chinese sale is believed to be its largest export of military equipment to Europe in recent decades, and marks Beijing’s most significant foray into a continent where armed forces have traditionally relied on U.S. and European weapon makers, as commented by Slobodan Lekic in The Star & Stripes.

Recent moves by China on or near NATO’s turf have attracted U.S. scrutiny. At U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, officials have expressed concern about China purchasing stakes in numerous European ports, and about China’s “polar silk road” Arctic ambitions. Serbia — which was heavily bombed by NATO during the Kosovo war in 1999 — is a candidate to join the European Union, but has also rejected the possibility of NATO membership. Instead, Belgrade has declared itself as a military-neutral nation, saying it wants to procure weapons and other military equipment from various suppliers, be it the U.S., Russia, China or European nations.

“The Chinese have very good pilotless aircraft, probably second only to the United States,” Belgrade military analyst Miroslav Lazanski said in a TV interview. “They obviously copied some American systems (but) Chinese drones are very effective and very cheap”, as Slobodan Lekic reports in The Star & Stripes.


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