Saudi Air Force Acquires Chinese Wing Loong-10B Reconnaissance-Strike Drones

14.02.2024 Asia
Saudi Air Force Acquires Chinese Wing Loong-10B Reconnaissance-Strike Drones

Saudi Air Force Acquires Chinese Wing Loong-10B Reconnaissance-Strike Drones

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Saudi Arabia has expanded its military capabilities with the acquisition of the Wing Loong-10B (WL-10B) Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), a high-altitude, long-endurance drone intended to enhance the Kingdom’s reconnaissance and aerial strike operations.

The Wing Loong-10B was showcased last week during the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia (4-8 February), where it garnered significant attention due to its advanced features and capabilities.

The Wing Loong-10B drone is designed for prolonged surveillance and can carry a significant armament, which is expected to boost the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) reach and precision in military operations.

The Wing Loong-10B marks an upgrade from the previous model, the Wing Loong-2 (WL-2), which the RSAF has been using since 2017. The WL-10B brings improved functionalities over its predecessor.

The choice to procure the WL-10B from China is indicative of a global trend where defense buyers are seeking battle-tested and reliable systems, and it highlights China’s increasing prominence over traditional defense market leaders like Russia and the United States.

Investing in advanced drones like the WL-10B demonstrates Saudi Arabia’s commitment to enhancing its security and maintaining its surveillance capabilities in a complex and unpredictable geopolitical environment.

The Wing Loong-10B is produced by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) or Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), a subsidiary of AVIC, a Chinese aerospace conglomerate that designs and manufactures combat aircraft and is also a manufacturer of aircraft parts. It was founded in 1958 (as Chengdu State Aircraft Factory No.132 Aircraft Plant) in Chengdu, Sichuan province to be an aircraft supplier for the Chinese military.

The Chengdu Aerospace Corporation designed and now produces the Chengdu J-10 light-weight multi-role fighter and Chengdu J-20 fifth-generation jet fighter, that are considered to be two of the most advanced weapons in China's inventory, as well as the CAC/PAC FC-1 Xiaolong (Chinese designation) (CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder is the Pakistani designation) very light-weight multi-role fighter that is produced in cooperation with Pakistan.

Chengdu Aerospace has been cited for its success in developing China's first fifth-generation aircraft and stealth fighter jet. Its development led China to become the second country in the world (first in Asia) to possess fifth-generation and stealth technology. (File Photo: Wing Loong-10B at Zhuhai Airshow 2022 © Wikipedia)




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