China is advancing their drone capability with the first flight of their Wing-Loong II reconnaissance and strike drone on February 27. The state-run Xinhua News Agency also announced that they have received a large order from an unnamed customer for the aircraft system.

First revealed in September 2015 and exhibited as a model at the Singapore Air Show last year, the Wing-Loong II is a new generation, turboprop-powered UAS designed by AVIC’s Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute. The number-one aircraft performed a 31-minute flight from “a highland airfield in western China,” Xinhua said.

Its flight marks China’s new generation reconnaissance and strike UAS,” chief designer Li Yidong told Xinhua. “Following the United States, China becomes another country capable of developing such new generation large reconnaissance and strike UAS.” The Wing-Loong II “can rapidly identify then strike against time-critical and fleeting targets. The capability is not possessed by previous unmanned aircraft, even manned aircraft,” he added. – AINonline

Watch the first Wing-Loong Drone Fly

The Wing-Loong II does have an almost uncanny resemblance to the larger and more capable U.S. Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper.

The Chinese made Wing-Loong II drone has the follow specifications:

  • Wingspan of 67 feet (20.5 meters)
  • Maximum takeoff weight of 9,260 pounds (4,200 kg)
  • External payload capacity of 1,058 pounds (480 kg)
  • Maximum altitude of 29,527 feet
  • Endurance 20 hours

Possible customers for the Wing-Loong II are rumored to include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt. So how do you think the Chinese drones compare to U.S. drones?

Featured image of a Wing-Loong II unmanned aircraft system from Xinhua News Agency Tweet