Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra and China's Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) will reportedly jointly produce 48 Wing Loong II strike-capable, reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The announcement, which was made on 6 October via the Facebook page of the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF's) Sherdils Aerobatic Team, was also covered by China's state-owned Global Times newspaper. However, no details were revealed about the value of the deal, when it was struck, the delivery schedule, and whether all of the platforms are intended for use by the Pakistani military.
If confirmed, the deal would be one of the largest-known foreign orders placed for the Chinese-developed turboprop-powered UAV.
The latest developments come after commercial satellite imagery captured on 24 November 2017 showed that the Pakistani military may already be operating the Wing Loong I UAV. The imagery showed what appeared to be a single Wing Loong I in front of a hangar at the (PAF's MM Alam airbase in the Mianwali District, which is located in Pakistan's Punjab Province.
The second-generation Wing Loong II was first displayed at the China Airshow 2016 in Zhuhai, and conducted its maiden flight in February 2017.
In December 2017 the Xinhua news agency reported that the medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) platform hit five targets in succession using five different types of missiles as part of a live-firing test. Citing a statement by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), Xinhua reported at the time that by achieving a "100% hit rate" the Wing Loong II set a new live-firing record for a Chinese-made UAV in a single sortie.
However, the report did not provide any details about the weapons that were test-fired.
As Jane's previously reported, the Wing Loong II bears a strong resemblance to the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper UAV, with its low-wing monoplane slender fuselage and empennage with a prominent V-tail and ventral fin.
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