China’s Wing Loong UAV family makes Southeast Asian debut
The China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), the export arm of the state-owned aerospace and defence prime Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), is showcasing the company’s Wing Loong family of armed reconnaissance medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (MALE UAVs) in Southeast Asia for the first time.
The company is specifically highlighting full-sized mock-ups of its Wing Loong I and Wing Loong II air vehicles, along with a full range of proposed UAV-deployable munitions, at the Changi Exhibition Centre during the 2018 iteration of the Singapore Airshow, which will open from 6 to 11 February.
Developed and manufactured by AVIC’s Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute (CADI) subsidiary, the Wing Loong I is 9 m long, 2.8 m tall, and features a wingspan of 14 m. The air vehicle – which is identified as the Gongji-1 (GJ-1) in service with People’s Liberation Army Air Force– has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,200 kg and a payload capacity of 200 kg, with half of this dedicated to external stores split between two underwing mounts.
AVIC is aiming to roll out the improved Wing Loong I-D in 2018, having unveiled a scale model of the new variant at the 2016 iteration of the China Airshow. According to specifications obtained by Jane’s during the event, the Wing Loong I-D is expected to be approximately 8.7 m in length, 3.2 m in height, and have a wingspan of 17.6 m. It is envisioned to be capable of carrying up to 400 kg of external stores on four underwing hardpoints, which translates to twice as many weapon mounting locations and four times the capacity compared with the Wing Loong I.