Shivangi Pandya / GNS: China will sell 48 high-end military drones to its “all-weather ally” Pakistan in what a military observer said will be the largest deal of its kind between the two countries, official media in Beijing reported today.
However, the cost of the deal was not revealed. Wing Loong II, a high-end reconnaissance, strike and multi-role endurance unmanned aircraft system, is manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) will also be jointly manufactured, China’s state-run Global Times reported. China, an “all-weather ally” of Islamabad, is the largest supplier of the weapon system to the Pakistan Army. Both the countries also jointly manufacture JF-Thunder a single engine multi-role combat aircraft.
The announcement by China to permit the sale of high-end military drones comes in the immediate backdrop of India’s move to acquire the sophisticated S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. The deal was clinched during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi last week. The deal for the acquisition of Chinese drones was announced by Pakistan Air Force’s Sherdils Aerobatic Team on its official Facebook account on Sunday, the Global Times report said. It did not reveal the cost of the deal, when it was struck or when the Wing Loong IIs will be delivered, it said. The air force academy aerobatics team announced that in the future, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company will jointly manufacture the drones, the report said. Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group did not confirm when the deal was reached. Wing Loong II made its maiden flight in February last year, an earlier report by the state-run Xinhua news agency said.