A new member of the Wing Loong UAV family, the Wing Loong I-D, is on display at the ongoing Airshow China in Zhuhai.
The Wing Loong ID is developed by Chengdu Aircraft Design & Research Institute (CADI), a subsidiary of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The UAV has conducted its maiden flight this year and is expected to enter the market soon. The Wing Loong I UAV is already in service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
“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 the improved model of the Wing Loong I UAS.
It is a high-performance, medium-altitude and long-endurance reconnaissance-strike UAS, completely made of composites and newly designed to meet the requirements of market.
“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 I-D seems to be powered by a piston engine to reach a maximum speed of 280 km/h and a service ceiling of 7,500 m (24,600 ft). It also has an operating endurance of 35 hours.
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.
The Wing Loong I-D can be armed, it has two hardpoints under the wings, able to carry air-to-surface anti-tank missile, guided rocket, small bombs, bomb for drones, and precision-guided munitions.
Moreover, it is capable in the civilian domain, such as territorial resources surveys, pipeline inspections, as well as disaster monitoring and evaluation. The forward section of the fuselage is fitted with an electro-optical payload pod that can integrated day/night vision, infrared cameras and sensors to collect surveillance and targeting data in both day and low-light / night conditions.
China started the Wing Long UAS development in 2005. To date, it already has two generations, the Wing Long I and Wing Long II series, respectively.
The Wing Long I conducted its maiden flight in 2007. And Wing Loong II successfully completed its maiden flight on Feb. 27, 2017. The Wing Loong II has earned the largest order for Chinese UAV in the global foreign military trade.