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China to sell 48 high-end military drones to Pakistan

Prime News, International, (Beijing), October 9:-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.

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 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 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.

According to the report, the system is composed of the ground station and various number of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Within 10 months of its maiden flight, multiple live firing tests had been conducted in accordance with the requirement of its customers, including stationary targets, moving targets, time sensitive targets and air-ground coordination, the report said.

It makes sense the aerobatic team was closely involved with the deal, Song said, noting that the team is expected to train the drone operators.

The deal is trustworthy given the close military ties between the two countries and Pakistan’s need for drones, Song Zhongping, a military expert said.

US drones like the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper are technologically more advanced, but Washington limits their export,  Song said.

Chinese drones will enjoy more success in the international market in the future, he claimed, as they perform similarly at a lower cost.

“Chinese UAVs like Caihong series also has clients from countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” Song added.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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