Two Saudi Arabian manufacturers have started co-producing a Turkish-made medium-altitude, long-endurance drone.
The drone in question is the Karayel-SU, under license from the Vestel Savunma.
The two companies that will produce the drone are Intra Defense Technologies and Advanced Electronics Company.
The company hasn’t confirmed anything, but Defense News reported that an anonymous company official said that AEC will provide electronics parts and Vestal will supply “essential, critical components of the aircraft.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed March 16th that “there was Saudi demand for Turkish armed drones,” without elaborating.
The deal dates back to the 2017 Dubai Air Show, where Saudi Arabia expressed interest in contracts for both the direct purchase and co-production of the drones, Turkish defense analyst Anil Sahin said.
Sahin said the co-production program involves building a batch of 40 Karayel-SU aircraft between 2021 and 2025. The Turkish drone will be reflagged as Haboob in Saudi Arabia.
The Karayel-SU is a surveillance, reconnaissance and later combat UAV system developed for the Turkish Armed Forces by Vestel.
Karayel-SU (SU; standing for Armed-Extended Wing) has a longer wingspan, as well as end-plates on its wing tips and two hardpoints for payload under each wing. Each one of the hardpoints can carry 30 kg, meaning that the total payload capacity of the Karayel-SU under its wings is 120 kg.
The wing hardpoints can also be equipped with payloads other than munitions. The Karayel-SU also retains the ability to carry 50 kg EO/IR payload at the fuselage payload bay.
- Engine Power: 1 × 97 HP (Sea Level)
- Maximum Takeoff Weight: 630 kg
- Wing Span: 13 m
- Total Length: 6.5 m
- Height: 2.11 m
- Wing Useful Load: 120 kg
- Trunk Payload: 50 kg
- Flight Speed: 60-80 knots
- Rate of Climb: 800 m/min
- Operational Altitude 18.000 ft
- Data Link Range: >150 km
- Landing Distance: <750 m
- Airborne Time: 20 hours without ammunition, 12 hours with 60 kg load and 8 hours with 120kg loaded
- Navigation: Fully Autonomous or Manual, Day Camera (color) & IR Night Camera
- Useful Load: Laser Range Finder,Laser Pointer & Laser Target Marker
- Other Features: Triple redundant avionic architecture,Fully autonomous take-off / flight / landing, Composite main structure
There are speculations that this means a warming of relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
More than anything it shows the desperation of both.
Turkey is lacking partners for its drone and avionics business, as its units are frequently used to target civilians in some battlefields such as Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and more.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia frequently airstrikes civilian targets, and is suffering greatly against the Houthis.
As such, both are in need of a partner to assist them in moving forward in their undertaking.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Houthis Release Video Of Downed Vestel Karayel Combat Drone Of Saudi Forces
- Karayel Reconnaissance And Combat UAV (Infographics)