China's State-owned arms company Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced on Tuesday that it is about to deliver the 100th made-for-export Wing Loong drone, as the company expects to produce 100 high-end drones per year by 2025.
AVIC also announced it has established a new subsidiary focusing on the drone business, which Chinese military experts said will help AVIC become even more competitive on the international market.
The subsidiary, AVIC (Chengdu) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System Company, was based in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, according to a statement AVIC released on its WeChat account on Tuesday.
The subsidiary will operate under a new organizational structure that will see the integration of AVIC's strengths in research and development, manufacture, supply chain and international market channels, the statement said.
AVIC now offers products like the Wing Loong armed reconnaissance drone, the Cloud Shadow high-altitude drone, the AV500 unmanned helicopter and the Yaoying remote sensing drone.
Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the establishment of the subsidiary shows that AVIC takes the drone business very seriously, and the company will give more resource to the subsidiary than when it was only a department.
The move is also motivated by the strong demand from the international market and the growing competition there, Li said, noting that the subsidiary will provide drones in larger quantity, of better quality and new models.
"The US' General Atomics is the market leader in the international drone industry. I hope that our new company can surpass it," Lai Zhiyong, an employee at AVIC (Chengdu) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System Co Ltd, said in a video posted with the statement.
At the same event on Tuesday, AVIC announced the 100th Wing Loong series armed reconnaissance drone for export has passed inspection and will be delivered to its client.
This is a new record number for Chinese drone export, reads a separate statement AVIC released on Tuesday.
Li said that the reason behind the success of the Chinese drone on the international market is its high quality and pricing, as China continues to make rapid progress in related technologies.
Countries like Egypt, Indonesia and Serbia are operating the Wing Loong I drone, Jane's Defence Weekly reported.
Wing Loong I-D, a new entry to the Wing Loong series that uses an all composite material structure, made its maiden flight on Sunday.