China’s Heavily-armed Wing Loong 3 UAV with Intercontinental Range to make its 1st Flight

  • Bureau
  • 12:42 PM, November 10, 2022
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China’s Heavily-armed Wing Loong 3 UAV with Intercontinental Range to make its 1st Flight
Wing Loong 3 at Airshow China, Zhuhai @via Chinese state media

China's newly unveiled, heavily-armed, Wing Loong 3 drone having intercontinental range is expected to make its first flight soon.

Displayed by state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) for the first time at the ongoing Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai, the Wing Loong 3 is capable of intercontinental flight and conduct missions far away, the Global Times reported.

Zhou Yi, chief designer of the drone, told the outlet that the Wing Loong 3 “is expected to conduct its first flight soon and achieve operational capability as fast as possible.”

He said this new drone is heavy in comparison with other domestic and foreign medium-altitude long-endurance armed reconnaissance drones.

While inheriting the traditional aerodynamic design of the Wing Loong series with a pair of straight wings with high aspect ratio plus a set of V-shaped tail wings to provide a very high lift-drag ratio, the Wing Loong 3's wingspan is very large, exceeding 24m.

This will meet the demands from Chinese and foreign users for "cross regional long range flight and extended mission," the drone designer said.

The Wing Loong 3 on display at the airshow carried many different types of payloads, including  anti-radiation missiles, guided glide bombs, sonobuoy pods, cluster bombs, communications reconnaissance pod, guided rockets, sonar reconnaissance pods, loitering munitions and even air-to-air missiles like the PL-10E, making it a drone capable of air-to-air combat. It can also carry optical, infrared, radar and communications signal reconnaissance payloads.

China’s Heavily-armed Wing Loong 3 UAV with Intercontinental Range to make its 1st Flight
Wing Loong 3 equipped with PL-10E fourth-generation air-to-air missile @CCTV

Zhou said Wing Loong 3 can carry payloads under its wings, under its fuselage and within its fuselage.

Analysts said the drone will be able to conduct maritime escort, anti-submarine, aerial fire support, anti-radiation attack, low altitude alert patrol and interception, electronic reconnaissance and disruption, communications relay as well as maritime search and rescue (SAR) missions.

It can reportedly even team up with manned aircraft and other drones.

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