The state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) news channel has released a previously unseen video of Beijing’s AVIC Wing Loong unmanned air vehicle carrying out weapons testing.
Conducted in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in northern China in July, the testing saw the UAV fire eight weapon types at targets to show the flexibility of the system, AVIC says.
“[UAVs] that can both reconnoitre and attack have to function like this. It is unknown what kinds of targets are on the ground,” Li Yidong, deputy chief engineer of Wing Loong at AVIC’s Chengdu Engines, told CCTV.
“You cannot use just one or two types of missiles to deal with all targets with so many types of targets. Therefore for different targets we have different weapons.”
Wing Loong is comparable to the US General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1 Predator UAV in terms of characteristics, but visually akin to the larger MQ-9 Reaper.
The extent of its capability largely remains to be seen, but the video shows the Wing Loong dropping a number of weapons, with footage then switching to ground targets being hit.
“[The UAV] is actually a big system consisting of base stations and missiles,” Li Yongguang, chief engineer of the Wing Loong, adds. “Its progress will greatly boost the development of military industry.”
CCTV says that China has been delivering Wing Loong UAVs to users in batches since 2014, with customers reportedly including the domestic military, plus Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, according to numerous news reports.