Saudi Arabia in talks with Turkey to launch locally the development of drones

According to information published by the "Tactical Report" website on August 2, 2022, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) organization of Saudi Arabia is currently in talks with the Turkish company Baykar Technology to launch the development of different types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Saudi Arabia.
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Ukraine Navy Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone.(Picture source Wikimedia)

Baykar Technology is a Turkish company that developed, designed, and manufactured a wide range of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Systems) including the famous Bayraktar TB2 which is currently used by the Ukrainian armed forces to fight Russian troops.

For several years, Saudi Arabia has launched a program to modernize its defense industry with the goal to develop and manufacture locally different types of military and security equipment in the land, air, and naval sectors.

Saudi Arabia's aim is to localize over 50 percent of military equipment spending by 2030. The country has already begun developing less complex industries such as those providing spare parts, armored vehicles, and basic ammunition. We will expand this initiative to higher value and more complex equipment such as military aircraft.

Saudi Arabia will build an integrated national network of services and supporting industries that will improve our self-sufficiency and strengthen our defense exports, both regionally and internationally.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia organized its first defense show, the World Defense Show which was held near Riyadh from 6 to 9 March 2022. During the four days of the event, local and international defense companies from all over the world displayed the latest defense technology solutions, alongside conferences and education seminars focused on the next generation of defense.

Turkey has made tremendous strides in its national UAV development program in the past decades. Under the leadership of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the domestic UAV development and production activities, which started in the early 1990s, have intensified especially after 2004. A large industrial infrastructure began to emerge with projects like the first domestically produced UAV UAV-X1 (1990), the first domestically produced target aircraft Turna-Keklik (1995), the UAV Technology and Product Development Projects Pelikan-Baykuş (2003), and the Digital Visualization Project Martı (2004).

The development of the Bayraktar TB2 tactical UAV system prototype by the KalekalıpBaykar Makina Joint Venture started in 2007. The first flight of the developed prototype UAV was recorded on June 8, 2009. With over 110,000 operational flight hours, TB2 has been used efficiently in the service of the TAF, Gendarmerie, and the Turkish National Police since 2014.

Furthermore, ten Bayraktar TB2 UAVs will be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command. Besides being used operationally by the TAF (Turkish Air Force), Bayraktar UAV system is the first indigenous UAV system that has been exported to countries such as Qatar and Ukraine.