Saudi Arabia to build Combat Drones from 2021

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted a license to a local company to manufacture military drones first unveiled at Dubai Airshow-2019, starting next year.

On April 27, the General Authority for Military Industries approved for Infra Defense Technologies to build 6 drones in 2021, and 40 within a span of five years. The project is scheduled to begin operation during the first quarter of 2021, with an expected investment amounting to $200 million.

“The project for the maintenance, manufacture and localization of unmanned aircraft systems reflects the general strategy of the authority and is based on its three pillars: industry, research and technology and procurement,” GAMI Governor, Eng. Ahmed al-Ohali, said.

Intra President Salman bin Nasser Al-Shathri said 60 percent of the project’s operations will be handled by Saudi enterprises, and 60 percent of its output will be destined for export, according to local media.

The Asef drone is armed with Roketsan MAM-L and MAM-C munitions. At the airshow, the platform was equipped with a Hensoldt Argos II EO/IR pod to provide day-and-night surveillance capabilities.

The company also advertises the Karayel tactical UAV, developed by Turkey’s Vestel. Intra representatives told Jane’s at the Dubai Airshow last year that the company was primarily orienting its marketing efforts for the Karayel towards the Saudi military, and potentially exporting the platform to Brazil and Kuwait.