Members of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) reportedly recently completed their training period in China in the use of Wing Loong II drones, newly acquired by the Kingdom.
According to the Spanish media, but in particular a photo that has been circulating for a while on social networks, the training took place in Chengdu, China, throughout May, seven months after Morocco’s acquisition of two units of this drone designed and manufactured by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). However, the information has not been confirmed by any official source.
As a reminder, the drone in question is an improved derivation of the Wing Loong I. This new version, the Wing Loong II, has considerably increased its capabilities compared to its predecessor, both in terms of range, load and operational capacity, with an optimized aerodynamic design and improved airframe and airborne systems.
The Wing Loong II is in fact a MALE (medium altitude long endurance) combat drone, capable of operating at medium altitude and long endurance. With a geometry similar to that of the American model, it has a thin fuselage and a generous wing surface, with a prominent V-shaped tailplane and a lower ventral fin. The landing gear consists of two main wheels under the fuselage and a single wheel under the nose, facilitating safe takeoff and landing.
According to the data provided by the Chinese marketing company, the drone is 11 meters long and has a wingspan or wingtip-to-wingtip distance of 20.5 meters, while it measures almost 4 meters in height. The aircraft is powered by a turboprop engine mounted at the rear of the fuselage, capable of reaching a maximum speed of 370 km/h. Its range could reach 1,500 km and it would be equipped with satellite communication systems. It would also be built with advanced composite materials, capable of ensuring the lightness and structural resistance of the device.
In addition, the maximum take-off weight is 4,200 kg, with a fuel capacity of 2,035 kg. The internal payload is 200 kg, which would probably correspond to the sensors and systems. The drone is also capable of carrying up to 12 bombs or laser-guided missiles thanks to its external payload which amounts to 480 kg, fixed on the six external support points. The service ceiling, meanwhile, is 9,000 m, with a maximum flight speed of 370 km/h and a remarkable flight autonomy of 32 hours.
The Wing Loong II MALE drone is developed mainly for the export market and is intended for aerial surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It can be equipped with a variety of weapons to perform combat and strike missions. In addition, it is remotely controlled by an operator from the mobile ground control station using the consoles. The control station receives payload information from the UAV via a data communications link and sends command and control and mission planning data back to the aircraft.