AVIC will launch a new member of the Wing Loong UAV family in 2018, with the new aircraft to be an improved variant of the Wing Loong I.

The Wing Loong ID will be more affordable and effective than the Wing Loong I, reports the China Daily, quoting AVIC.

The new type will have its first flight in 2018, and will also be launched on the international market.

Missions include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), border patrol, counter-terrorism, and anti-smuggling. The Wing Loong ID is also suited to missions such as resource surveys, pipeline inspections, and the monitoring of natural disaster situations.

The Wing Loong I appeared at Airshow China in Zhuhai in 2012, and has also been filmed flying and destroying targets with missiles.

As with the Wing Loong I, the Wing Loong II’s layout is similar to the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. A flyer distributed by AVIC lists its length at 11m, 2m longer than its predecessor.

The Wing Loong II also has a much broader wingspan of 14m, compared with 9m with the Wing Loong I. Maximum takeoff weight is listed at 4,200kg.

Endurance is listed at 20h, with a maximum altitude at 9,000m - 50% better than the Wing Loong I.

Source: FlightGlobal.com