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WDS 2024: AVIC WL-10B to be delivered to Royal Saudi Air Force

The AVIC Wing Loong-10B (WL-10B) displayed at WDS 2024 along with various missiles and bombs. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

China Defence, on behalf of China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), has confirmed that the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Wing Loong-10B, an export variant of the CATIC Wing Loong-10 (also dubbed as WL-10), will soon enter service with the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).

With the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) displayed at the World Defense Show (WDS) 2024 held in Riyadh from 4 to 8 February, the company official told Janes that the payloads will be different for the export variant compared with the baseline variant. The company official also revealed that the base variant WL-10 UAV and the lower endurance variant WL-10A are in service with China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

Alongside the WL-10B, CATIC displayed a range of weapons that can be fitted onto the UAV. These include the TY-90 air-to-air missile, AG-300/M air-to-ground missile, FT-7A/W laser-guided bomb, YJ-9E anti-ship missile, TL-20 guided bomb, and LS-6/100NLS miniature-guided bomb.

The high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) WL-10 features a relatively low-wing cranked planform with slender fuselage that incorporates a bulged nose section (incorporating a dorsal antenna hump), a tricycle undercarriage, a V-shaped tail assembly incorporating ruddervators, and a rear-mounted turbojet engine.

The WL-10B has a large trapezoidal dorsal engine intake and a concealed exhaust at the rear of the fuselage, suggesting a single engine. The UAV is fitted with a communication antenna and ultra/very-high-frequency (U/VHF) datalinks. An additional electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor will be fitted ventrally ahead of the communication antenna.

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