In a first direct competition between Chinese and United States military products, the former’s Wing Loong II drone will be competing against the United States’ MQ-9 Predator B in a potential tender for UAVs in Malaysia.
The Wing Loong II put up a flying and static display while the MQ-9 was only on static display at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition that concluded last week in the Malaysian resort Island.
“We are addressing Malaysia’s strategic environment as a maritime nation. We are talking a medium-altitude long-endurance [MALE] UAV based on the new Royal Malasian Air Force (RMAF) CAP55 roadmap released in 2018,” RMAF Chief General Tan Sri Affendi Buang said in an interview ahead of the LIMA 2019 exhibition that concluded last week.
All eyes are now on the Malaysian defence white paper that is expected to be released before the end of the year which may unlock UAV and other procurement plans.
The Wing Loong shares more than a striking resemblance with General Atomic’ Predator/Reaper series of drones leading to cries of copycat in the Western Media. But this has not deterred countries such as Pakistan and some Middle East nations from ordering over 100 of such drones which reportedly cost a third that of US-made advanced drones.
While the Predator, made by General Atomics was not allowed for export until recently, competition from China has made the Trump administration loosen up some of the export control surrounding drone technology allowing its export to nations outside of NATO and close allies such as Israel and Japan.
However, that has not helped increase US drone sales. US –based ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine reported in December 2018, “more than six months after the Trump administration rolled out a new set of regulations promising to make it easier to sell American-made military drones abroad, no new sales have been made, and drone-makers are frustrated by the lack of concrete results.”
A 2017 Rand Corp. study concluded that previous administrations’ restrictive regulations on shipping armed and unarmed drones to foreign customers has left U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage, effectively ceding the market to China.
A day after the Wing Loong made impressive flying dispay at LIMA, China state-owned media revealed data that the Wing Loong series of drones have fired more than 3,000 rounds of live munitions hitting both stationary and moving battlefield targets, according to China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
"Higher than 90 percent should be considered very high accuracy when you have 3,000 samples, especially on real battlefields, not just training grounds," a Beijing-based military expert was quoted by the Global Times on March 31.
Developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), Wing Loong is an armed reconnaissance drone besides capable of surveillance operations for extended hours over vast regions. It is often likened to the US' MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has completed exporting the 100th domestically-developed Wing Loong Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The state-run manufacturer started to export the Wing Loong series in 2010
The Australian Government has selected General Atomics (GA-ASI) Reaper UAVs to provide the Armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System under Project Air 7003 for the Australian Defense Forces (ADF). “We look forward to providing our world-leading RPAS to meet the Air 7003 requirements,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI
Pakistan will buy 48 Chinese Wing Loong II reconnaissance and strike medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) drones in the largest such arms deal of its kind between the two countries. Reports in the Chinese media attributed the information about the sale to a posting on the official Facebook account of the Pakistan Air Force's Sherdils Aerobatic Team on Sunday without giving out information about the value of the deal
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has been selected to provide Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Medium Altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) UAS to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF)
Malaysia will receive six ScanEagle 2 Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) later this year while Indonesia will receive an equal number in 2022 under the United States funded Maritime Security Initiative (MSI). US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver said during a media round-table in Kuala Lumpur last week that the Philippines had received six ScanEagle 2 UAS in 2018 as part of the MSI policy
Belarus has developed “TRIO,” a new air defense system that is capable of targeting and destroying aerial targets including drones, according to the countrys State Military and Industrial Committee. "The new surface-to-air missile system developed by specialists of BSVT - New Technologies has been created to provide air defense for military and industrial facilities, land troops units and formations, and also to strike small-size air targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)," the committee said in a statement Monday
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