Paris Air Show: Wing Loong II makes its mark
As the presence of China’s Wing Loong II UAV at Paris Air Show continues to draw crowds, officials associated with the system were coy in answering questions about potential customers.
An official from the Aviation Corporation of China (AVIC) said that the presence of the Wing Loong II at Paris Air Show is because the event ‘is the biggest in the world’.
The official dismissed suggestions that opportunities were to be had in western and European countries for the platform, stating that it gave the company an opportunity to connect further with its international customers.
In particular, Africa and the Gulf were mentioned in this regard.
Speaking exclusively to Shephard another official associated with the Wing Loong II, who asked not to be named, said that the full-sized mock up displayed was also showcasing close to the entirety of its possible payloads and loadouts for customers.
These mainly focused on air-to-ground munitions which varied in size, weight and lethality, depending on the price. Being able to accommodate a customer's sometimes restricted financial capability was mentioned as being one of the main factors in the range payload options.
‘People are interested in the display. It is the biggest, newest UAV here,’ he exclaimed.
When asked about the platform's increasing popularity in the international marketplace, the official said that ‘the market does not belong to us’.
‘It is not as if I give [Wing Loong II] to them, they choose us. We will see if we have opportunity for more customers.’
The official declined to comment on any upgrades or development programmes either planned or ongoing regarding the Wing Loong II, but did not state that this is explicitly not the case.
In a statement AVIC said that the Wing Loong II was being displayed ‘to enable visitors to experience the features of this medium altitude, long endurance reconnaissance/strike UAV’.
The UAV was showcased along with a range of other aircraft including models and mockups of the J-31 fighter and the Z-10ME and Z-19E attack helicopters, the latter two of which were being exhibited for the first time.
According to AVIC the Wing Loong made its maiden flight on 28 February 2017, while the maiden flight of the Z-19E on 18 May this year.
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