Tech­niques used make it top of the class, project di­rec­tor tells Arab News

Arab News - - FRONT PAGE - MO­HAMMED AL-SULAMI

DUBAI: The King Ab­dul Aziz City for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (KACST) pre­sented its com­bat drone Saqr 1 at the Dubai Air­show 2017.

The drone is able to fly at an av­er­age al­ti­tude of 25,000 feet, with a flight time of up to 30 hours, au­to­matic take-off and land­ing, a parachute in case of emer­gen­cies, and day and night cam­eras.

It can also be equipped with radar, tech­nol­ogy for elec­tronic war­fare, jam­ming and eaves­drop­ping, and bombs and rock­ets with a pay­load of up to 400 kg.

The di­rec­tor of the drone project, Dr. Khaled Al-Hos­san, said Saqr 1 is in line with Vi­sion 2030, which aims to in­crease lo­cal tech­ni­cal con­tent.

“The tech­niques used in this drone make it one of the top in­ter­na­tional drones,” he told Arab News.

“It’s char­ac­ter­ized by the abil­ity to fly high or low, and to carry laser-guided rock­ets and bombs.”

The drone is made of car­bon and glass fiber, with a light weight and low fuel con­sump­tion, Al-Hos­san added.

“This drone can com­plete its tasks in­de­pen­dently from take-off to land­ing, and is con­trolled from a ground sta­tion with high pre­ci­sion and sta­bil­ity in nav­i­ga­tion in all avi­a­tion con­di­tions,” he said, adding that it has been thor­oughly tested.

Work on the drone be­gan in 2000, and four types were pro­duced in dif­fer­ent sizes: Saqr 1, 2, 3 and 4, Al-Hos­san said.

The pro­duc­tion fac­tory is Sau­diowned via the Taq­nia Aero­nau­tics Co., which is owned by the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund.

“The fac­tory has a plan from 2019 to 2024 for the de­sign and man­u­fac­ture of air­craft spare parts. All nec­es­sary equip­ment has been pur­chased and is now in­stalled,” said Mounir Bakhash, di­rec­tor of the fac­tory.

Mean­while, Mo­hammed Ayyash, di­rec­tor of the air­craft trans­port de­part­ment at the Taq­nia Aero­nau­tics Co., said the SaudiUkrainian Antonov AN-132 air­craft is ready for man­u­fac­ture and sale.

“The struc­ture of the air­craft is de­signed by a Saudi-Ukrainian part­ner­ship,” he told Arab News.

“The air­craft de­vices are Amer­i­can, Bri­tish, French and Cana­dian, but Saudi Ara­bia plans to man­u­fac­ture the tires.”

The idea for the plane came out of a part­ner­ship be­tween KACST and Ukraine’s Antonov State Co., Ayyash said. “The pro­duc­tion line be­gins in Ukraine and ends in the King­dom,” he added.

The Antonov AN-132 can be used for var­i­ous pur­poses, in­clud­ing elec­tronic war­fare, re­con­nais­sance, and trans­port­ing per­son­nel and equip­ment. Be­fore the Dubai Air­show 2017, the air­craft par­tic­i­pated in the Paris Air Show 2017.

“Sev­eral coun­tries have ex­pressed in­ter­est in the plane, such as Turkey, which re­quested in­for­ma­tion to ne­go­ti­ate the pur­chase of nine Antonovs, as well as Malaysia, Peru, Mex­ico and the UAE,” Ayyash said.

The Saqr 1 com­bat drone, de­vel­oped by the King Ab­dul Aziz City for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, be­ing show­cased at the Dubai Air­show. (AN photo)

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