Shortly after India announced it was buying the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia, China said it would sell 48 advanced Wing Loong II military drones to Pakistan.
While the official figures of the deal were not disclosed, Chinese media reported that Beijing will supply the multi-role UAVs to its longstanding friend Pakistan, The Global Times wrote.
Fitted with a variety of weapons, the UAV drone has the ability to perform combat operations and can also be used for civil tasks, such as disaster assessment, meteorological operations and environmental protection.
According to the Chinese newspaper The Global Times, the Wing Loong II reconnaissance, strike and multi-role unmanned aerial vehicle will be jointly manufactured by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China's Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company and Pakistan’s Kamra Aeronautical Complex.
China’s Xinhua news agency earlier reported that the Wing Loong II made its maiden flight in February.
If confirmed, the supply of 48 Wing Loong II drones would be China's largest such export deal to date, military expert and TV commentator Song Zhongping told The Global Times.
"US drones like the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper are technologically more advanced, but Washington limits their export… Chinese drones will eventually be more successful in the international market in the future as they perform similarly at a lower cost,” Song said.
He added that Chinese-made Cauhong-series of UAVs were popular in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
China’s announcement about the planned delivery of Wing Loong II drones to Pakistan came shortly after India inked a deal to buy five regiments of S-400 missiles from Russia to the tune of $5.4 billion.