Two China-built unmanned aerial vehicles—the Wing Loong I and Wing Loong II—made their Southeast Asian debut at the Singapore Airshow this year. The participation of the UAVs also marks the first time a Chinese military product is being shown at the Singapore Airshow.
The aircraft are produced by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), a division of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and marketed by the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), the export arm of AVIC.
The Wing Loong II inked its first launch customer with the United Arab Emirates, and deliveries have already begun. Recent satellite images of the Qusahwirah Air Base revealed three unmanned aerial vehicles with their design resembling the Wing Loong II. The UAE also uses the Wing Loong I.
The slightly larger Wing Loong I-D, with a composite fuselage, is currently in the final stages of development. According to the Chinese media, AVIC hopes to achieve first flight and readiness for export this year. An engineer from CATIC told AIN that composite elements are already present in current Wing Loongs, although he added that it will be difficult for customers to repair these materials if damaged outfield.
Also at the CATIC Stand are the Y-8M transport aircraft, JF-17/B and the Z-10ME attack helicopter. The improved Z-10ME features heavier armor and improved electrical systems, and is available for export for selected customers.