China to Sell 48 Wing Loong II Drones to Pakistan

IndraStra Global

China to Sell 48 Wing Loong II Drones to Pakistan

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: Wing Loong II, Performing its Maiden Flight at an unidentified airport in northwestern China (February 2017) / Source: Aviation Industry Corp of China

Image Attribute: Wing Loong II, Performing its Maiden Flight at an unidentified airport in northwestern China (February 2017) / Source: Aviation Industry Corp of China

On October 7, 2018, according to a social media post by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s Sherdils aerobatic team — China will sell 48 Wing Loong II unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) for the strike and reconnaissance operations. In the future, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra and China's Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) will jointly manufacture Wing Loong II. On the very next day, The Global Times confirmed the news of the drone deal between China and Pakistan describing as the most significant arms deal of its kind to date. 

However, the post did not reveal the value of the deal, when it was struck or when the drones will be delivered. But, China had reportedly sold Wing Loong II for US$ 1 million-a-piece to Egypt and the UAE last year. The announcement comes days after India signed a US$ 5.43-billion deal to buy five Russian S-400 Triumf missile defense system.

The second-generation of Wing Loong II was first displayed at the China Airshow 2016 in China Airshow (held at Zhuhai) and its maiden flight was conducted in February 2017. An earlier report by the state-run Xinhua news agency stated that within 10 months of its maiden flight, multiple live firing tests had been conducted in accordance with the requirement of its customers, including stationary targets, moving targets, time-sensitive targets and air-ground coordination.

PAF has been evaluating Wing Loong platform since past two-three years which was accidentally unveiled by a crash of Wing Loong-I in Pakistan on June 18, 2016. Later, a  Pakistani defense ministry official told a reporter that an unnamed UAV crashed on an "experimental flight", further fueling evaluating theories.

Image Attribute: A satellite image of Pakistan Air Force Base M.M. Alam in Mianwali (dated November 24, 2017), shows what appears to be a medium-altitude long-endurance drone, possibly a Chinese CAIG Wing Loong I. The aircraft is parked outside a hangar near the center of the base. / Source:  TerraServer

Image Attribute: A satellite image of Pakistan Air Force Base M.M. Alam in Mianwali (dated November 24, 2017), shows what appears to be a medium-altitude long-endurance drone, possibly a Chinese CAIG Wing Loong I. The aircraft was parked outside a hangar near the center of the base. / Source:  TerraServer. 

The latest platform is an upgraded variant of the Wing Loong-I UAV (Pterodactyl-I) first introduced into service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in 2008 and developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute (CADI) of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The second-generation of Wing Loong II is 11 meters in length, 4.1 meters in height, and 20.5 meters in wingspan. The maximum flying altitude of the aircraft is 9km, with a flying speed reaching up to 340km per hour and can stay airborne for 20 hours. It is able of carrying up to 12 laser-guided bombs or missiles with a total weight of 480 kilograms. By contrast, Wing Loong I can carry only two bombs or missiles with a combined weight of 100 kg.

Image Attribute: Static Display of Wing Loong II UAV with its Missile Systems, was first publicly revealed at the Airshow China 2016 (in November 2016)

Image Attribute: Static Display of Wing Loong II UAV with its Missile Systems, was first publicly revealed at the Airshow China 2016 (in November 2016)

With reporting by The Global Times, South China Morning Post, and Xinhua