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China’s home-developed Wing-Loong II, the new reconnaissance and strike multi-role endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), successfully completed its maiden flight. According to xinhuanet.com, it has already won the biggest overseas purchase order in the history of Chinese UAS foreign military sales even before this flight.

With a more than 20 meter wingspan, the yellow Wing-Loong II No.01 made its appearance on the runway of a highland airfield in western China, before conducting a 31-minute flight. “Following the United States, China becomes another country capable of developing such new generation large reconnaissance and strike UAS,” said Li Yidong, chief designer of the Wing-Loong UAS series. He said it showed that China had the capability to deliver new generation reconnaissance and strike UAS products to foreign military customers.

The Wing-Loong UAS series were developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute (CADI) of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China. It is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, multi-role UAS integrated with both reconnaissance and strike capabilities. The system is composed of the Wing-Loong II unmanned aircraft, GCS, mission payload and a ground support system.

Its unmanned aircraft is 11 meters in length, 4.1 meters in height. The maximum flying altitude of the aircraft is 9km, with a flying speed reaching up to 340km per hour. It has a maximum take-off weight of 4.2 tons, with an external carriage weight of 480kg, and can fly for 20 hours in a persistent mission cruise.

Li said that the Wing-Loong II could “rapidly identify and then strike against time-critical and fleeting targets. The capability is not possessed by previous unmanned aircraft, even manned aircraft,” Li said. “Taking a look at the UAS in the same class around the world, the Wing-Loong II is equivalent to the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper, and ranks in the first level on the UAS list.”

With a system extension, it can also perform intelligence collection, electronic warfare, search and rescue missions, and has several uses, including military, anti-terrorism, peacekeeping, border patrol missions as well as civilian operations.