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Wing Loong II UAV recorded in Taiwan ADIZ for first time

China's Wing Loong-2 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV that is capable of strike and surveillance operations. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

A Chinese military Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Wing Loong II (GJ-2) strike-capable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has made its first recorded appearance in Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The aircraft was recorded on 3 October as it flew into the southwestern quadrant of the ADIZ, north of Pratas island, according to Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) data.

The Wing Loong II is AVIC's second-generation Wing Loong platform and is capable of both intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and combat support roles. With an enlarged airframe, the UAV has six underwing weapons for armaments. The UAV also has three blade antennas (one under each wing and the third under the fuselage). Janes has previously assessed that these could be used to stream intercepted signals to People's Liberation Army (PLA) ground stations.

The appearance of a Wing Loong II in the ADIZ is unusual. The UAV has been in PLA Air Force (PLAAF) service since 2018 and is widely exported. Its users include Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. While it is not a new platform, Janes assesses that its first appearance in the ADIZ was likely to test a new capability or system.

The Wing Loong II has been a frequent testbed for new capabilities. In 2021 during the 13th China Air Show at Zhuhai, Li Yidong, chief designer of the Wing Loong-series of UAVs said that the platform will continue to “explore innovative application scenarios” and “support technological innovation around the four aspects of ‘platform', ‘application', ‘intelligence' and ‘collaboration'”.

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