Chinese state-owned media have released video footage showing a Wing Loong-series medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) apparently being…
Chinese state-owned media have released video footage showing a Wing Loong-series medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) apparently being trialled by the Chinese military in the logistics support role.
A Wing Loong-series UAV in flight dropping a munition-shaped canister carrying supplies. (CCTV)
Released on 20 November by Weihutang, a programme about military affairs from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), the footage shows a munition-shaped canister – which CCTV says was carrying “supplies” – being loaded onto one of the UAV’s underwing hardpoints.
Once in flight the multirole UAV is shown dropping the canister, which descends to a designated area via parachute and is then recovered.
Weihutang noted that the video footage was originally released by the UAV’s manufacturer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), but provided no further details, including when and where the images were taken.
The move was apparently aimed at demonstrating the platform’s capabilities to quickly and accurately airdrop urgently needed supplies to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units.
The demonstration is yet another indication of the PLA’s drive to boost the role played by UAVs in logistics support, as well as to enhance the military’s capability to supply frontline troops as quickly as possible in areas that are either inaccessible by road or where the provision of supplies by road would be put at high risk by enemy forces.
For instance, the PLA’s Tibet Military District (TMD) released footage on 4 October showing several vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAVs being used to provide rapid logistical support to troops operating in the remote Motuo region in China’s southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region.