Mail Online – Dec 24, 2018
Wing Loong I-D, a type of combat and spy drone, can carry more than 10 different types of weapons and fly up to 35 hours without refuelling.
It is also able to scout information from as high as 7,000 metres (22,965 feet), according to Chinese news site Sina Military.
The fighter jet is reported to be equipped with a variety of bombs and missiles. One of them is the BA-7, or Blue Arrow-7 laser-guided missiles.
The semi-automatic, air-to-surface missile is reported to be one of the most powerful anti-tank missiles in the world by Chinese media. It is able to destroy tanks with armor as think as 1.4 metres (55 inches) from as far as 7,000 metres (22,965 feet), according to a military blog on QQ.com.
Wing Loong I-D is also armed with YZ-212 laser-guided bomb, YZ-102A anti-personnel bomb and 50-kilogram LS-6 miniature guided bomb, said Sina Military.
An upgrade from the Wing Loong I, the newest drone is wider and can carry a heavier load.
According to Sina, the Wing Loong I-D has a wider wing span of 17.5 metres (57.4 feet), compared to Wing Loong I’s 14 metres (45.9 feet). In addition, it can carry an external load of up to 400 kilograms (881 pounds), compared to Wing Loong I’s 100 kilograms (220 pounds).
Wing Loong I-D completed its maiden flight at an airport in western China yesterday.
According to CGTN, which released the video of the flight, Wing Loong I-D flew for about 30 minutes before landing smoothly.
The report also said the multi-purpose aircraft was the first drone to be built with composite materials, meaning it is lighter than its peers. It was unveiled in June and can be sold to overseas buyers.
Wing Loong I-D is developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute, a part of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
It is the latest addition to the Wing Loong serial drones, which are branded as China’s most advanced unmanned aerial vehicles.
Its sister aircraft, stealth bomber Wing Loong II, can avoid radar detection and successfully destroyed targets 40 kilometres (25 miles) away with laser-guided missiles.
Having completed its maiden flight in February last year, Wing Loong II boasts a top speed of 370 kilometres (230 miles) an hour and can reach an altitude of 9,000 metres (30,000 feet), according to a previous report by Xinhua News Agency.
The warplane is considered by Chinese media as Beijing’s answer to MQ-9 Reaper, the most feared military drone in the U.S. Air Force.