- Programmes involving Saudi Arabia could prove lucrative for the Chinese and Ukrainian aerospace industries
- CAIG's Wing Loong II UAV has been ordered by the kingdom, while Antonov's An-132 is being jointly developed with Saudi industry
Future market projections involving Saudi Arabia are figuring almost as highly as the Asian market for Chinese and Ukrainian aerospace concerns, Jane’s learned at this year’s Singapore Airshow.
The Saudi armed forces’ interest in Chinese programmes is centered around the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group’s (CAIG’s) Wing Loong I and II unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), both of which made their first appearance at Singapore. The desert kingdom placed an order for the armed, jet-propelled Wing Loong II last year, which was a major victory for the Chinese company.
“The success of this sale is actually two-fold,” one Asian military affairs analyst told Jane’s . “One is landing an order with a country that was previously a US- and UK-only buyer; the other is that the order was made even before the aircraft had officially been certified, which was a big seal of approval.”
The other major Saudi programme involving a foreign supplier is the Antonov An-132 transport aircraft. A successor to Antonov’s An-32 'Cline' aircraft addressing the twin-engine transport market, the An-132 is similar in appearance to the An-32 but is powered by Western engines. The aircraft is being developed by Antonov in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) with the involvement of Saudi company Taqnia Aeronautics. International equipment suppliers for the programme include Pratt & Whitney Canada, General Electric, Honeywell, Liebherr, and Hamilton Sundstrand.
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