Wing Loong I-D, China's domestically-developed Wing Loong UAS family's new member that debuted at the just concluded Airshow China, uses complete composite materials for its fuselage and is sure to have better performances, says its chief designer Li Yidong.
While describing Wing Loong I-D is a first-of-a-kind UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) for China, Li Yongguang, project director of the Wing Loong UAS, said the application of composite materials on the airframe of the Wing Loong I-D has reached about 75 percent.
The Wing Loong UAS series is developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute (CADI) under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The complete Wing Loong UAS family, including Wing Loong I, Wing Loong II and Wing Loong I-D was displayed at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) held last week in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province. The Wing Loong I-D has been upgraded based on Wing Loong I and is aimed at diversified operational requirements of users, with the Wing Loong I and Wing Loong II both in batch production and delivery.
"High-proportion application of composite material reduces the weight of Wing Loong I-D and improves its capacities of anti-corrosion, payload and mission performances. Thus, it is possible for the new model to adapt to a more complex environment," project director Li Yongguang said.
Wing Loong I, which was developed in 2008, is a cost-effective reconnaissance-and-strike UAS having mature, practical air vehicle platform integrated with advanced mission system featuring leading information and control technologies.
Wing Loong II, a high-end version of the Wing Loong family, made its maiden flight on Feb. 27, 2017. It has set a new record for Chinese UAS firing tests with "five launches and five hits" in one sortie with different types of weapons.
"As an 'upgraded variant' of Wing Loong I, Wing Loong I-D has enhanced performances by 'injecting' the latest technologies into a mature platform," said Li Yidong, chief designer of the Wing Loong UAS series.
The Wing Loong I-D has greatly-enhanced flight performances, flight altitude, mission endurance and payload capacity as well as auto-operational capabilities compared with those of Wing Loong I, according to the chief designer.
The UAS series hit the market seven years ago and has become a star series products on the market, according to the AVIC.
"The Wing Loong UAS series are a brainchild of the AVIC CADI, a team which also developed the J-10, J-20 and the latest J-10B thrust vector demonstrator," said Li Yidong, the chief designer. "We develop the Wing Loong UAS series with long-term experience in developing high-end manned aircraft and deep understanding of the needs of international customers. We have strong confidence in their performance in the global market."