Calidus of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced a teaming agreement on 20 February with Saudi firm GDC Middle East to market the Calidus B-250 light attack aircraft to markets in the Middle East and North Africa.
Under the agreement, the two companies are to work together on marketing the aircraft across the region, as well as developing in-house capabilities for the aircraft, which is to be built at Al Ain in the UAE.
Fawaz Alsharabi, the CEO of GDC Middle East, said, "This is a major step for GDC Middle East to be a partner with Calidus's totally new developed aircraft. This is aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, and provides an ideal opportunity for Saudi industry to jointly develop the platform's mission system and weapon integration through GDC ME, and for GDC ME and Calidus to co-own the intellectual property."
Alsharabi added, "The programme will bring high-end technological capability and highly skilled jobs into the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], as well as representing a significant opportunity for the Saudi military industry to develop a systems integration capability."
The Calidus B-250 was first shown at the Dubai Air Show in 2017, following a two-year long development programme with Brazil's Novaer.
The aircraft, made primarily of carbon fibre, has a strengthened landing gear for rough field operations. According to Calidus, the aircraft can carry a maximum payload of 3,960 lb (1,796 kg) across seven hardpoints, with the centreline hardpoint being primarily used for sensor payloads or external fuel tanks. The aircraft has a range of 1,400-2,400 n miles and a maximum endurance of 12 hours. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 turboprop, the aircraft can reach a maximum of 301 kt, and can operate with one or two pilots.
Calidus also claims that the aircraft can be disassembled in 12 hours and reassembled in 10, with one aircraft fitting inside the cargo area of a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, or four inside a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III.
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