Saudi Arabia has signed a contract for the acquisition of 300 of the newest Chinese strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial long-haul vehicles Wing Loong II (also known as Pterodactyl II).
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported on 28 February that the deal represented the “biggest overseas purchase order in the history of Chinese [UAV] foreign military sales”. But the identity of the customer and the size and value of the contract were not disclosed.
The export order was revealed on the same day that the Wing Loong II completed its maiden flight.
The new Wing Loong II is a long-endurance strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design & Research Institute (CADI), a division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
CAIG formally unveiled the Wing-Loong II during Air Show China in November 2016. The Wing Loong II has a payload of 400 kg, which can be used for armaments and/or ISR equipment. The Wing-Loong II can reach a top speed of 370 km/h and service ceiling of 9,000 m. It has an endurance of 32 hours.
While observers have noted that the Wing-Loong II bore a strong resemblance to the MQ-9 Reaper, the Wing Loong II is a smaller and lighter platform than the Reaper.