Chinese Wing Loong II drones sold to Pakistan
China will sell 48 advanced armed drones to Pakistan. Called the Wing Loong II, the drone can be used for both combat and surveillance missions. Although details of when and deal price is not clear, the drones will enhance Pakistan’s capabilities in the backdrop of India signing a deal with Russia for the S-400 missile defence system.
Chinese Wing Loong II UAV, made by Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company (Picture source: Army Recognition)
The Wing Loong II is an improved version of the Wing Loong 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Falling in the category of Medium Altitude Long Endurance, it is manufactured by the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company. The UAV has been developed primarily for People’s Liberation Army Air Force and export. The concept of the Wing Loong II was unveiled at the Aviation Expo China in Beijing in September 2015.
Wing Loong II, made by Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company, is a high-end reconnaissance and strike multi-role endurance unmanned aircraft system. It made its maiden flight in February last year, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The largest overseas order for Wing Loong IIs was obtained even before the maiden flight, Xinhua reported. The report did not specify the buyer.
A deal involving as many as 48 Wing Loong IIs, if confirmed, would be China's largest export deal for drones to date, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday. Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group did not confirm the deal when reached by the Global Times as of press time. The deal is nevertheless trustworthy, given the close military ties between the two countries and Pakistan's need for drones, Song said. Chinese drones will enjoy more success in the international market in the future, he said, as they perform similarly at a lower cost. "Chinese UAVs like Caihong series also has clients from countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia," Song said.
The air force academy aerobatics team announced that, in the future, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China's Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company will jointly manufacture the drones. It makes sense the aerobatic team was closely involved with the deal, Song said, noting that the team is expected to train the drone operators.