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Saudi Arabia looks to buy armed drones from Turkey

Saudi Arabia is reportedly looking to purchase armed drones from Turkey, as announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday. The cooperation will mark the first major step in working with one another since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

During the same address, Erdogan also voiced his opinion on the country working with Greece, which is a rival to Turkey. This could mean that Turkey will only provide its drones if Saudi Arabia stops working with Greece.

Erdogan said:

“Saudi Arabia is conducting joint exercises with Greece. Yet at the same time, Saudi Arabia is asking us for armed drones. Our hope is to solve this issue calmly without getting heated.”

The drones that Saudi Arabia is looking to purchase aren’t known at this stage, but they will likely come from Turkish drone manufacture Baykar Defence. It currently produces four drones, two of them being surveillance drones and the other two having the ability to carry ammunition. There is also expected to be another drone on the way, the Bayraktar TB3, a modified version of the Bayraktar TB2 that will be used on ships.

The Bayraktar AKINCI is the largest drone made by the company and has a flight time of up to 24 hours, and can fly at speeds of 195 knots. Powering it all is two 750-horsepower or 450-horsepower turboprop engines, depending on the use.

The Bayraktar TB2 drone from Baykar is a medium-altitude long-endurance drone used for both surveillance and armed missions. So far, it has been used by Azerbaijan, Libya, Qatar, Turkey, and Ukraine. It can fly up to 220 kph (136 mph) and stay in the air for up to 27 hours. It uses an unknown 100 HP ICE fuel-injected engine with a 79-gallon gas tank.

It can carry up to four bombs when armed, including anti-tank missiles, precision-guided missiles, and laser-guided rockets. When it comes to surveillance operations, it is equipped with EO, IR, LD, and targeting sensors, with an upgrade to the system coming soon.

Photo: Baykar Defence

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Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.