Chengdu Pterodactyl I

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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
Saudi Arabia [2]

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]

Design and development[edit]

Developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), a division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC),[4][5] the Pterodactyl I bears a distinct similarity in appearance to the Predator/Reaper family of drones developed by the United States.[5][6] The drone is capable of being fitted with a variety of sensors, including a forward looking infrared turret and synthetic aperture radar.[4] In addition, the aircraft is capable of carrying weapons.[6] The Pterodactyl I's total payload capacity for sensors and weapons is 200 kilograms (440 lb).[4]

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.[4]

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;[5][6] however, it was claimed by AVIC that the aircraft had been displayed at the 2008 airshow.[4] The aircraft has been approved for export by Chinese authorities; the Pterodactyl I was evaluated by Pakistan, but was not selected for procurement.[4]

One example of the type was known to have been lost in an accident during 2011.[7]

An unknown number of Pterodactyl UAVs were purchased by Saudi Arabia in May 2014.[8]


Data from ,[4][6]

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. ^ a b c d e f g Wall 2010
  5. ^ a b c Minnick 2010
  6. ^ a b c d Zeitler 2011, p.25.
  7. ^ Chinese Predator UAV look-alike crashes
  8. ^ Saudi Arabia signs deal for China's Pterodactyl drone -, 6 May 2014