Saudi Arabia has signed a contract to buy an unknown number of Wing Loong medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles from China, according to the Global Times.
Also known as the Pterodactyl I, the Chinese drones are said to be designed along the lines of the MQ-1 Predator with surveillance capabilities and the ability to carry two matched air-to-surface missiles.
Citing Russian military news, the Global Times said Saudi crown prince Salman sealed the deal with People's Liberation Army general Wang Guanzhong during a visit to China in mid-April, making Saudi Arabia the first Arab country to acquire the drone.
The Wing Loong was developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. According to the statement released by the company last year, the drone has already been sold to four foreign countries, including an unnamed county in Central Asia, with a series of negotiations still ongoing with other potential clients.
The 1,100 kg Wing Loong is about the same size as the MQ-1 Predator and can fly for over 4,000 kilometers in 20 hours. Its 200kg payload of armaments and sensors includes two laser guided KD-10 ground to air missiles (similar to the Predator's Hellfire Missiles) or two 50 kg LS-6 satellite guided bombs.
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