Forces loyal to the Govermenet of National Accord (GNA) announced on August 3 that they had shoot down a Chinese-made Wing Loong II unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) near the northern Libyan city of Misrata.
“Our heroic forces in the southern axis of the central military region successful shot down this morning a Wing Loong UCAV loaded with missiles that the UAE was supporting war criminal Hafar with it … It was trying to attack civilian targets in the vicinity of the city of Misrata,” the operations room of pro-GNA forces said in a short press release.
CAIG’s Wing Loong II has an endurance of around 20 hours and an operational range of up to 4,000km. The UAE was the launch customer for the Chinese UCAV in 2017.
Photos of the UCAV’s wreckage reveal that it was loaded with several J-7 guided missiles. The J-7 is an export version of the semi-active laser guided HJ-10 missile. The missile has a range of up to 7km and a warhead that is capable of penetrating 1,400mm of armour.
Las April, defense analyst Arnaud Delalande published an investigation proving that LJ-7 missiles were used against pro-GNA forces. Back then, several observers speculated that the UAE was behind the airstrikes.
At least two Wing Loong I\II UCAVs of the UAE Air Force (UAEAF) are deployed in the al-Khadim airbase in western Libya, as a satellite image released by IHS Jane’s in 2016 revealed. Despite this, it remains unclear if the drone shot down toady was being operated by the UAE.