ISLAMABAD,, Pakistan -- The Pakistani military will acquire dozens of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of an agreement that could see the aircraft produced locally.
Citing the Pakistan Air Force's Sherdils Aerobatic Team, Global Times reported on October 8, 2018, that Pakistan had signed a deal with China over the procurement of 48 Wing Loong II UAVs. An agreement between Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and Aviation Industry Corporation of China may allow for the production of the drones locally in Pakistan 'in the future', according to the report.
Global Times noted that the financial details on the agreement, as well as when the drones will be delivered, was not revealed. The state-owned media outlet referenced a Chinese military expert as saying, "A deal involving as many as 48 Wing Loong IIs, if confirmed, would be China's largest export deal for drones to date."
The expert, Song Zhongping, told Global Times that the aerobatic team can be expected to train drone operators on the use of the Wing Loong II.
The Wing Loong II, considered to be similar to the U.S.-made MQ-9 Reaper, can be equipped with air-to-surface missiles and munitions, though it is not clear what armaments will come along with the deal.
Pakistan is believed to have previously acquired or evaluated Wing Loong I drones in the past few years, as at least one has been spotted at a Pakistani Air Force base.