Algeria and Egypt have both revealed they are operating Chinese-manufactured unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including the CH-3, CH-4 and WING LOONG (PTERODACTYL).
Algeria, which already operates the Denel SEEKER UAS, showed it also operates the CH-3 and -4 during a recent visit by Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah to Ain Ouessara Air Base. There was no evidence of weapons integration, but the CH-4 featured underwing hardpoints.
A video celebrating the Egyptian Air Force’s 45th anniversary in October showed a single WING LOONG taking off with a missile under each wing and later destroying a ground target. This was tacit official acknowledgement of the widely known fact that Egypt operates the Chinese type.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of China’s current UAS, the WING LOONG family has been exported to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Chinese sources estimate the family could generate export sales of over US$2 billion over the next five years, though production at the moment is a modest 24 per annum.