Pakistan will reportedly import 48 Chinese drones in the first of its largest international arms deal, Global Times reported. The deal was announced on the official Facebook account of the Pakistan Air Force’s Sherdils Aerobatic Team.
However, the details did not disclose how much the deals was worth when it was struck or when the Wing Loong IIs will be delivered, but it did announce 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’, GT reported.
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 as quoted by GT.
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.