Pakistan to buy 48 military drones from China

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Nation special report
LONDON: Pakistan will import 48 Chinese drones in what a Chinese military observer said must be the largest such arms deal of its kind. The Pakistan Air Force’s Sherdils Aerobatic Team did not reveal how much it was worth, when it was struck or when the Wing Loong IIs will be delivered, the state-run Global Times newspaper has reported.

The air force academy aerobatics team announced that in the future the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company will jointly manufacture the drones.

Wing Loong II, made by Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company, is a high-end reconnaissance and strike multi-role endurance unmanned aircraft system. It made its maiden flight in February last year, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The largest overseas order for Wing Loong IIs was obtained even before the maiden flight, Xinhua reported. The report did not specify the buyer.

A deal involving as many as 48 Wing Loong IIs, if confirmed, would be China’s largest export deal for drones to date, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday. Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group did not confirm the deal when reached by the Global Times as of press time. It makes sense the aerobatic team was closely involved with the deal, Song said, noting that the team is expected to train the drone operators.

The deal is trustworthy given the close military ties between the two countries and Pakistan’s need for drones, Song said. US drones like the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper are technologically more advanced, but Washington limits their export, Song said.

Chinese drones will enjoy more success in the international market in the future, he said, as they perform similarly at a lower cost. “Chinese UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) like Caihong series also has clients from countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” Song said.

According to another report published by media outletMoney Control’, the drone named Wing Loong II is a high-end reconnaissance, strike, and multi-purpose unmanned aircraft and is manufactured by the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company.

The cost of the deal has not been decided yet, the report mentioned, adding that in future both countries will also jointly manufacture the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The news of buying the Chinese drones was announced by Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Sherdils Aerobatic on its official Facebook page on Sunday, mentioning that the cost of the drones will be revealed at the time of their delivery.

PAF further announced that in future Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company will jointly manufacture the drones.

Wing Loong II, a high-end reconnaissance, strike and multi-role endurance unmanned aircraft system, is manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) will also be jointly manufactured, state-run Global Times reported.

The air force academy aerobatics team announced that in the future, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company will jointly manufacture the drones, the report said.

Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group did not confirm when the deal was reached.

Wing Loong II made its maiden flight in February last year, an earlier report by the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The deal is trustworthy given the close military ties between the two countries and Pakistan’s need for drones, Song said.US drones like the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper are technologically more advanced, but Washington limits their export, Song said. Chinese drones will enjoy more success in the international market in the future, he said, as they perform similarly at a lower cost.