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Aviation / Aerospace


Chengdu (AVIC) Wing-Loong III (Pterodactyl III)


Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) [ 2025 ]



The Wing-Loong III represents the next logical step in the Chengdu-AVIC series of Medium-Altitude, High-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/08/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

GO TO SPECIFICATIONS [+]
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The Wing Loong III ("Pterodactyl III") Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) was unveiled by AVIC's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) of China at the Zhuhai Air Show in November of 2022. The type represents the third major iteration of the series, dimensionally larger to showcase its increased performance and mission capabilities. The airframe was on display next to original offerings by the company, dwarfing the lineup considerably, and represents another milestone in the growing Chinese unmanned aircraft arsenal.

The aircraft retains the proven straight-wing arrangement and subsonic performance of previous iterations. It features a streamlined fuselage with noticeably bulbous nose section and a chin-mounted optics blister. The optics set is given unfettered views of the terrain ahead and around the air vehicle, traversing on its balanced, stabilized gimbal mounting. The engine is sat in the rear of the fuselage and drives a five-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" fashion, clearing the forward sections of the airframe for mission equipment and unobstructed camera work. The tail unit incorporates its twin planes in an outward-canted configuration where they serve as both rudder and elevator, simplifying the design and overall construction. Smaller dorsal planes are also noted under the tail for additional stability. The mainplanes are set near midships and each is given four hardpoints. The wings are further capped by winglets at their tips. A retractable, wheeled undercarriage allows for the needed ground-running function.

The aircraft was exhibited with various air-to-surface ordnance options including Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) and what appeared to be mission pods. Early data showcases a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of around 13,700lb.

The earlier Wing Loong I is powered by a conventional piston engine and provides a mission endurance window of about 20 hours flight time with cruise speeds near 175 miles-per-hour. The follow-up Wing Loong II is powered by a turboprop installation and has an endurance time of up to 32 hours with cruise speeds reaching 230 miles-per-hour. Against this background, the Wing Loon III most likely exceeds the operating window by at least 5 to 10 hours and can be estimated to have a cruising speed near 250 miles-per-hour in a clean, all-up configuration.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

November 2022 - The Wing Loong III was debuted at Zhuhai Air Show 2022 in China.

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Specifications



Service Year
2025

Origin
China national flag graphic
China

Status
IN-DEVELOPMENT
Program in Progress.
Crew
0
UNMANNED
Production
1
UNITS


Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) / AVIC - China
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of China China (probable)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Unmanned Capability
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.


Empty Wgt
11,905 lb
(5,400 kg)
MTOW
13,669 lb
(6,200 kg)
Wgt Diff
+1,764 lb
(+800 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Chengdu Wing Loong III production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / straight
Monoplane
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mid-Mounted
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
Straight
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Chengdu Wing Loong III production variant)
Installed: 1 x Conventional turboprop engine of unknown make, model, and output power driving five-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in pusher arrangement.
Max Speed
249 mph
(400 kph | 216 kts)
Cruise Speed
162 mph
(260 kph | 140 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+87 mph
(+140 kph | 76 kts)
Ceiling
32,808 ft
(10,000 m | 6 mi)
Range
4,350 mi
(7,000 km | 12,964 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Chengdu Wing Loong III production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Assumed typical support for conventional drop bombs, precision-guided bombs / smart bombs, and various mission pods mounted across eight underwing hardpoint (four to a wing mainplane) and a single dorsal fuselage hardpoint.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 9
Mounting Points




-
11
9
7
5
-
1
-
4
6
8
10
-
HARDPOINT(S) KEY:
X

15
13
11
9
7
5
3
1
2
4
6
8
10
12
14


COLOR KEY:
Fuselage Centerline
Fuselage Port/Wingroot
Fuselage Starboard/Wingroot
Wing/Underwing
Wingtip Mount(s)
Internal Bay(s)
Not Used

Note: Diagram above does not take into account inline hardpoints (mounting positions seated one-behind-the-other).


Wing Loong III (Pterodactyl III) - Base Series Name.


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Images Gallery



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Image released by Chinese State Media.

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