Saudi Arabia, among China’s regular customers for UAVs, will take delivery of its first jet-powered UCAV platform, as reported by China Defence. The information has been released on behalf of state-owned CATIC.
WL-10B is an export version of WL-10, used by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. The UAV can reach a maximum speed of 620 km/h and an altitude of 15000 m with an endurance of 20 hours.
The payloads include an electro-optical system and up to 900 kg of air-to-surface munitions. The munitions include gliding, rocket-powered missiles and YJ-9E lightweight anti-ship missiles.
Chinese UCAVs in Saudi Arabia’s inventory include Wing Loong I and Wing Loong II. The propeller-driven models from CATIC form the majority of the country’s UCAV fleet.
Recently, Saudi Arabia also announced the procurement of Bayraktar AKINCI UCAVs from Turkiye. The procurement also includes munitions from ROKETSAN and ASELSAN.
When the two platforms surpass the current platforms in various areas compared, WL-10B features a high speed and operational ceiling thanks to turbojet propulsion, while AKINCI has a greater payload capacity at 1500+ kg, as well as a wider array of munitions from the MAM family to HGK-84 2000 lb bombs. This will include GÖKDOĞAN and BOZDOĞAN AAMs in future with the integration of MURAD AESA radar.