China's homemade Wing Loong drones hit battlefield targets with 90 percent accuracy
Published: Apr 01, 2019 04:36 PM

Chinese UAV Wing Loong II is seen on the static display during the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 20, 2017. Photo: CFP

China's domestically developed, made-for-export Wing Loong series of drones have fired more than 3,000 rounds of live munitions with an overall accuracy higher than 90 percent, media reported, which analysts called on Monday a demonstration of the Chinese drone's reliability.

The munitions hit both stationary and moving battlefield targets, China Central Television (CCTV) reported last week.

"Higher than 90 percent should be considered very high accuracy and it is absolutely no coincidence when you have 3,000 samples, especially on real battlefields, not just training grounds," a Beijing-based military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Monday.

As export products, the operators of the drones are likely from a variety of countries, indicating  Wing Loong is not difficult to operate and very reliable, the expert said, noting that the Chinese side must have provided detailed training.

Developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), Wing Loong is an armed reconnaissance drone capable of delivering precision strikes via air-to-ground missiles, often likened to the US' MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones.

The CCTV report also highlighted a case where a foreign client mishandled the drone and lost contact with it. Just as the operators lost hope and were about to search for the drone's wreckage, it appeared over the airfield and landed successfully, thanks to an automatic return-to-base function that was triggered when the control station could not be reached, according to the report.

On modern battlefields, electromagnetic environments could be very complicated and the communication with a drone could be jammed, the anonymous expert said, noting that the automatic return-to-base function can greatly increase the survivability of the drone.

The expert also pointed out that in this case operators could not even detect their own Wing Loong on radar, demonstrating the Chinese drone's high anti-detection capability.

As of December 2018, 100 Wing Loong series drones were delivered for export, the Xinhua News Agency reported.