Serbia will become the first European country to acquire Chinese-origin UAVs as it plans to clinch a deal for 9 Wing Loong armed drones, with a possible future order of additional 15, from Beijing.
“This sale will greatly strengthen the Serbian military, which will gain capabilities it has not had in the past,” Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin was quoted as saying by the media.
“The Chinese have very good pilotless aircraft, probably second only to the United States. They obviously copied some American systems [but] Chinese drones are very effective and very cheap,” said Miroslav Lazanski, a Belgrade-based military analyst, according to Stars and Stripes.
Developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, the Wing Loong or Pterodactyl-I is a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) drone used for surveillance and aerial reconnaissance. It is capable of being fitted with air-to-surface weapons for use in an UCAV role. It can carry 440 pounds combined of both weapons and reconnaissance gear, has a range of 2,500 miles and can remain aloft for 20 hours.