BEIJING: Pakistan will import 48 Chinese drones in what a Chinese military observer said must be the largest such arms deal of its kind, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported.
The cost and delivery date of the major defence deal was not revealed.
It is roughly equivalent to the American MQ-9 Reaper drone.
The drones will also be jointly manufactured by China and Pakistan, state-run Global Times reported.
It is pertinent to mention here that India sealed a major deal to acquire S-400 air defense system from Russia affecting the balance of power in the South Asian region. The agreement to buy the world’s most lethal surface-to-air missile system was reached during Viladimir Putin’s visit to New Dehli last week.
Pakistani deal involving as many as 48 Wing Loong IIs, if confirmed, would be China’s largest export deal for drones to date, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.
Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group did not confirm the deal when reached by the Global Times as of press time.
It makes sense the aerobatic team was closely involved with the deal, Song said, noting that the team is expected to train the drone operators.
The deal is trustworthy given the close military ties between the two countries and Pakistan’s need for drones, Song said.
US drones like the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper are technologically more advanced, but Washington limits their export, Song said.
Chinese drones will enjoy more success in the international market in the future, he said, as they perform similarly at a lower cost.
“Chinese UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) like Caihong series also has clients from countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” Song said.