China to open first drone factory in Saudi Arabia

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China will soon construct the first unmanned aerial vehicle factory in the Middle East following a meeting with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

According to the New Arab report, Saudi Arabia granted the Chinese permission to move forward with the plan when the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology signed a partnership agreement with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Earlier in March, Chinese and Saudi Arabian government officials signaled closer ties by forging an economic pact valued at roughly $65 billion. Saudi King Salman met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign the deal.

According to the South China Post, the new drone agreement facilitates the construction of CH-4 unmanned aerial vehicles.

The location is also intended to promote after-sales services for China’s clients in the Middle East in addition to satisfying Saudi orders.

The CH-3 is designed to perform various military functions including reconnaissance and combat operations.

The platform is already in service in Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.

The military role of UAV is growing at unprecedented rates. In 2005, tactical and theater level unmanned aircraft (UA) alone, had flown over 100,000 flight hours in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).

NAN reports that rapid advances in technology are enabling more and more capability to be placed on smaller airframes which is spurring a large increase in the number of SUAS being deployed on the battlefield.

The use of SUAS in combat is so new that no formal DoD wide reporting procedures have been established to track SUAS flight hours.

As the capabilities grow for all types of UAV, nations continue to subsidize their research and development leading to further advances enabling them to perform a multitude of missions. UAV no longer only perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, although this still remains their predominant type.

 

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam

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