China’s AVIC announced Thursday that it will launch an upgraded version of the domestically-developed Wing Loong UAS family in 2018, local media reports.
The new modernized Wing Loong ID UAV will conduct its maiden flight and enter the market in 2018, Xinhua reports quoting AVIC delegates at the Wing Loong UAS Development Conference on Thursday. The Wing Loong ID is the improved model of the Wing Loong I UAS.
Wing Loong is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design & Research Institute (CADI), a division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
“The Wing Loong ID is the first generation of improved reconnaissance-strike UAS in China. With other members of the family, it will help enhance the influence of Wing Loong brand in the global military trade market," said Li Yidong, chief designer of the Wing Loong series and vice chief designer of CADI.
"The Wing Loong ID is more affordable in price and more competent in capability than Wing Loong I. It can satisfy various operating requirements of more foreign military sales customers," Li said.
It has the optimization of aerodynamic layout and installation of high-power engine. It is enhanced in takeoff weight, ceiling, endurance, communication, internal carriage and external stores, according to Li.
The Wing Loong ID can play an important role in security, such as intelligence acquisition, surveillance, reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, border patrol, the fight against drug trafficking, and smuggling. Moreover, it is capable in the civilian domain, such as territorial resources surveys, pipeline inspections, as well as disaster monitoring and evaluation.
To date, China has developed two versions of Wing Loong UAS since 2005. The Wing Long I conducted its maiden flight in 2007. And Wing Loong II successfully completed its maiden flight on Feb. 27 last year.