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Chinese Chengdu Wing Loong II armed drone shot down by a mysterious Iranian 358 anti-aircraft loitering missile

Iranian 358 missile approaching the Chinese-made Wing Loong II drone
Iranian 358 missile approaching the Chinese-made Wing Loong II drone

A paramilitary Hussite group in Yemen shot down a large Chinese-made Wing Loong II drone with a new anti-aircraft missile. The drone was reportedly shot down near the city of Shabwa in central Yemen. The group has released a video of the incident.

The Wing Loong II drone, also known as the Pterodactyl II, belonged to a Saudi coalition involved in the war in Yemen. 

The Chinese unmanned “pterodactyl” is reported to have been shot down by a secret Iranian 358 anti-aircraft missile (as it is called in the west). The missile in the video is not high-speed and looks like it has a characteristic sizeable X-shaped plumage.

Wreckage of the Wing Loong II drone shot down in Yemen in Saudi Arabia. January 2022. Photo – Yemeni media

The Saudi side says the UAV was destroyed by a Mi-24\Mi-35 attack helicopter of the Houthis from the Marib front. Saudis have released a video of the same, but it is not known how fresh this video is. Saudis were already caught passing off American footage with Iraqi missiles as footage of Houthi missiles in Hodeida.

A Pterodactyl II was shot down by the Yemeni Militia even in October 2021, presumably by the same missile.

Iranian 358 anti-aircraft missile

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice published photos of a fully assembled new Iranian missile, parts of which the Americans intercepted on two ships carrying Iranian weapons for Yemeni rebels. “The United States has seized three 358 anti-aircraft missiles and 150 Dehlavieh anti-tank guided missiles,” the U.S. Department of Justice had said.

Iranian 358 anti-aircraft missile found in an Iraqi field

The U.S. says the missile is designed to destroy air targets such as helicopters and drones. Because the official name of the Iranian missile is unknown, the Americans called the anti-aircraft missile “358”.

A couple of months back, the missile was found in an Iraqi field.

The missile is a two-stage tandem arrangement with a rear booster and unpowered kill stage. The Imaging Infrared seeker (IIR) performs a pattern search algorithm and autonomous locking once at the impact point. IIR allows high rejection of flares and countermeasures. It has a 16 x 360-degree laser proximity fuse that targets very small objects. It has less than 10 kg warhead with possibly directional fragmentation due to the proximity fuse resolution the 16 sensors allow. It has fire and forget capability. 

Iranian anti-aircraft missile type 358, which was captured by the United States. 2020. Photo – US Department of Justice

The missile can travel 10 km at supersonic speeds and then slower. It has a service ceiling of 15 km. It can theoretically fly 100 km in loitering mode.

The missile potentially allows a re-attack of the target after a miss due to constant kinetic energy supply by the turbojet propulsion.

Pterodactyl II

Chinese drone Wing Loong II or Pterodactyl II

Saudi Arabia had signed a contract to purchase the Pterodactyl I UAV in April 2014. In 2017, the country signed a new contract to purchase 300 new Chinese reconnaissance and strike long-range unmanned aerial vehicles Pterodactyl II (Wing Loong II).

Lost drones

The Coalition led by the Suadi Arabia has lost many drones against the Yemeni Militia. Saudi Arabia has lost about twenty-one UAVs, the United Arab Emirates – eleven, and the United States – seven.

Chinese origin -CH-4B, Wing Loong I and Wing Loong II); and U.S. origin MQ-9B Reapers and MQ-1B Predators have been lost.

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