China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation has introduced its second-generation Wing Loong II unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) at the Beijing Air Show earlier this month.
The system is similar to the MQ-9 Reaper high-altitude long-endurance UCAV, which is manufactured by General Atomics primarily for the US Air Force, Sputnik International reported Friday.
Photographs on Chinese websites this year indicate that flight-testing of the Wing Loong has already begun, while the UCAV is likely to be exported under the name Wing Loong II.
The drone can be expected to enter the People's Liberation Army Air Force alongside the smaller Chengdu GJ-1/Wing Loong.
The Wing Loong is powered by a single pusher turboprop engine. It places its satellite communication system and primary optical system in the nose; and employs large V-stabilizers with a smaller vertical stabilizer below the empennage.
The Wing Loong II has a maximum speed of 230 miles per hour and can reach an altitude of 30,000 feet. Further, it can carry 1,060 pounds. A brochure image shows the Wing Loong II carrying 12 air-to-surface missiles.
Multiple Chinese companies have developed families of UCAV weapons, including precision-guided missiles, bombs and air-to-air missiles.