CAIG Wing Loong

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This article is about the Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle. For the 1970s vintage ultralight aircraft, see Pterodactyl Ascender.
Pterodactyl I
Wing Loong.jpg
Manufacturer Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group
Designer Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute
First flight 2009
Introduction 2008
Status Export (2011)[1]
Primary users People's Liberation Army Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
Saudi Arabia [2]
United Arab Emirates

The Chengdu Pterodactyl I (Chinese: 翼龙-1[3]; pinyin: Yìlóng-1) also known as Wing Loong is a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group in the People's Republic of China. Intended for use as a surveillance and aerial reconnaissance platform, the Pterodactyl I is capable of being fitted with air-to-surface weapons for use in an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) role.[1] Based on official marketing material released by CADI, the Pterodactyl can carry BA-7 air-to-ground missile, YZ-212 laser-guided bomb, YZ-102A anti-personnel bomb and 50-kilogram LS-6 miniature guided bomb.[4]

Design and development[edit]

Designed and developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), a division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC),[5][6] the Pterodactyl I bears a distinct similarity in appearance to the Predator/Reaper family of drones developed by the United States.[6][7] The drone is capable of being fitted with a variety of sensors, including a forward looking infrared turret and synthetic aperture radar.[5] In addition, the aircraft is capable of carrying weapons.[7] The Pterodactyl I's total payload capacity for sensors and weapons is 200 kilograms (440 lb).[5]

Operational history[edit]

According to Chengdu, the Pterodactyl I has been undergoing flight testing and has proven successful, with the flight test program including weapons tests of both bombs and air-to-surface missiles.[5]

A model of the Pterodactyl I was displayed at the 2010 China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition at Zhuhai, the first public acknowledgment of the program;[6][7] however, it was claimed by AVIC that the aircraft had been displayed at the 2008 airshow.[5] The aircraft has been approved for export by Chinese authorities; the Pterodactyl I was evaluated by Pakistan, but was not selected for procurement.[5]

One example of the type was known to have been lost in an accident during 2011.[8]

China National Aero Technology Import & Export Corp is managing exportation of Pterodactyl UAV. An unknown number of Pterodactyl UAVs were purchased by Saudi Arabia in May 2014.[9]

Since 2011, China has also sold the Wing Loong to several countries in Africa and the Middle East, including Nigeria, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, at an estimated $1 million per unit.[10]


A total of four variants of Wing Loong have been identified and they are:

  • Pterosaur I: First member of Wing Loong seris, with program of Wing Loong begun in May 2005. Maiden flight was completed in October 2007 and payload evaluation flight was completed a year later in October 2008.[11] This first model of Wing Loong seris lacked the bulge at the nose tip of the fuselage due to the lack of satellite antenna,[11] and while the English nameused by the developer differed from later model, the Chinese name remain the same, and so is the name Wing Loong for the entire series.[12][13][14][11][15] The lack of satellite antenna results in cheaper cost, with the reduction of the maximum control range around to 200 km.[16] This model is no longer actively marketed when Pterodactyl I appeared, but is still available as a cheaper alternative up on potential customers’ request.
  • Pterodactyl I: Second member of Wing Loong series. Distinguished from earlier Pterosaur I in that there is a bulge at the nose tip of the fuselage to house satellite antenna, and this is the version most widely publicized and actively marketed as a surveillance platform. United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan were reported to be the first two foreign cusomters of Pterodactyl I.[17]
  • WJ-1: The first land attack version of Pterodactyl I, which is a weapon platform without the reconnaissance/targeting pod under the chin. The designation WJ stands for Wu-Zhuang Wu-Ren-Ji (武装无人机), meaning armed UAV. WJ-1 UAV made its public debut in November 2014 at the 10th Zhuhai Airshow along with its cousin GJ-1.[18]
  • GJ-1: Another land attack version of Pterodactyl I that combines the capability of both Pterodactyl I and WJ-1 so that it can identify and engage targets on its own. GJ-1 can be distinguished from both Pterodactyl I and WJ-1 in that GJ-1 has both the reconnaissance/targeting pod under the chin, as well as hardpoints to carry weapons. The designation GJ stands for Gong-Ji Wu-Ren-Ji (武装无人机), meaning attack UAV. GJ-1 UAV made its public debut in November 2014 at the 10th Zhuhai Airshow along with its cousin WJ-1.[18]


Data from ,[5][7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None (UAV)
  • Length: 9.05 m (29 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 14 m (45 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 2.77 m (9 ft 1 in)
  • Gross weight: 1,100 kg (2,425 lb)
  • Propellers: 3-bladed


  • Maximum speed: 280 km/h (174 mph; 151 kn)
  • Range: 4,000 km (2,485 mi; 2,160 nmi)
  • Endurance: 20 hours
  • Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,404 ft)


  • 100 kilograms (220 lb) of air-to-surface weapons


  • 100 kilograms (220 lb) capacity for sensors

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ a b Wong, Edward. (2013, September 21). "Hacking U.S. Secrets, China Pushes for Drones," The New York Times, p.A1 ff.
  2. ^ 25 April 2014, [1], The Verge: Saudi Arabia joins the killer drone arms race
  3. ^ 19 November 2010, Pterodactyl-1 UAV allowed for export, Sina News (Chinese)
  4. ^ China's Pterodactyl Yi Long drone weapon types -, 16 Oct 2014
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Wall 2010
  6. ^ a b c Minnick 2010
  7. ^ a b c d Zeitler 2011, p.25.
  8. ^ Chinese Predator UAV look-alike crashes
  9. ^ Saudi Arabia signs deal for China's Pterodactyl drone -, 6 May 2014
  10. ^ Joseph E. Lin (March 20, 2015). "China’s Weapons of Mass Consumption". Foreign Policy. 
  11. ^ a b c "Pterosaur". Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Pterosaur UAV". Retrieved November 4, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Pterosaur Unmanned Aerial Vehicle". Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Pterosaur I". Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Pterosaur I UAV". Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Pterosaur UAV". Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Pterodactyl I". Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "GJ-1 and WJ-1". Retrieved November 14, 2014.