King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia is improving its home-grown unmanned-aerial-vehicles (UAVs) — Saker-1 and Saker-4.
According to the Arab News, KACST developed medium-altitude and long-endurance drone Saker-1 has already achieved good results in preliminary tests.
Sources said the air vehicle managed to carry up to 150 kg, managed to fly up to 15,000 ft (4.6 km), fired a missile and a bomb with a range of 6 km,” Dr. Ali Al-Shihri, manager of the National Center for Aeronautical Technology at KACST.
Dr. Ali Al-Shihri also said, The drone is also equipped with an Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) system and can live stream videos during shot during the day and night, with the help of infrared radiation sensors.
It is to remember that Saker-4 is a smaller model of UAVs.It is “capable of carrying about 3 kg of surveillance systems, and managed to fly up to 11,000 ft (3.6km) and reach a speed of about 120 km per hour,” Al-Shihri said.
Composite materials are used to create the UAVs, such as glass fibers, carbon fibers, resin and fiber-reinforced composites. This decreases the weight of the devices, saves energy and prolongs flying time.
What is KACST?
KACST is a research and development facility in Saudi Arabia that aims to employ scientific research in the development of new technologies and push them into industrial development.
Al-Shihri said, adding that realizing the capability to build such technology is a big achievement in itself. Weaponized UAVs “are sensitive technologies, they need to go through different levels of certification, and pass the aviation and military standards — it’s a long process” until their industrialization, he added.
The company’s work is aligned with the aims of Vision 2030, including localizing technology, increasing local content, improving infrastructure and offering jobs for Saudis.
When it started its work in 2001-2003 it only had 10-20 employees; now there are about 120 Saudi engineers with different levels of certification working at the center. Al Shihri also added that we are striving to include Saudi women in the program.