Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wing Loong II completes maiden flight

China has successfully completed maiden flight of its unmanned Wing Loong II combat drone equivalent to the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper.

An upgraded version of the Wing Loong I, the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) performed its maiden 31 minute long flight from a airfield in Western part of China on last Monday.

The indigenous drone designed by Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute, part of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) can perform intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and ground attack missions.

The Wing Loong II is 11 meters long and 20.5 meters wide. It can reach a maximum flying altitude of 9 km and fly at a maximum speed of 340 km per hour.

Resembling the U.S. General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper's design, the Wing Loong II have an aft mounted engine in pusher configuration, twin canted vertical tail fins and a ventral fin.It is equipped with a chin mounted electro-optical sensor system to carry out all weather surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

With a maximum takeoff weight of 4.2 tonnes, the UAS can carry a 480 kg weapon payload in its four under wing weapon stations and have a 20+ hour endurance.

Saudi Arabia which operates the Wing Loong I, has placed a large order for the type, according to the Chinese state media.