China’s state-owned aerospace and defence prime Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is displaying the latest variant of the Wing Loong series of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – Wing Loong-3 (WL-3) – at the Airshow China 2022 exhibition being held in Zhuhai from 8 to 13 November.
WL-3 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, which is larger in size and has enhanced performance characteristics as compared with Wing Loong II.
WL-3 has a length of 12.2 m, a height of 4.3 m, and a wingspan of 24 m, according to an article published by China’s state-owned newspaper China Daily .
WL-3 features mid-wing monoplane with slender fuselage that incorporates a bulged nose section (incorporating a dorsal antenna hump and a ventral electro-optical/infrared imaging turret), a tricycle undercarriage, a V-shaped tail assembly incorporating ruddervators, and a rear-mounted engine driving a five-bladed pusher propeller.
In addition, each wing of WL-3 incorporates four underwing hardpoints for external stores, and one hardpoint on centreline of fuselage.
WL-3 “has nine payload hardpoints and can carry as many as 16 missiles and bombs”, China Daily reported.