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Local production agreements signed for Saudi Bayraktar Akinci UAVs

A Bayraktar Akıncı flies at Çorlu during the ceremony marking the delivery of the first ones to the Turkish Air Force in August 2021. (Milli Savunma Bakanlığı)

Up to 70% of the Bayraktar Akıncı unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will be built for the Saudi military will be locally produced, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) said after the signing of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Turkish defence companies on 6 August.

Saudi Arabia's acquisition of Bayraktar Akıncıs for its air and naval forces was announced on 18 July, with Haluk Bayraktar, the CEO of the UAV's manufacturer Baykar, describing it as “the biggest defence and aviation export contract in the history of the Republic of Turkey”.

Three MOUs were signed on 6 August – one between SAMI and Baykar; another between Saudi Arabia's National Company for Mechanical Systems (NCMS) and Aselsan, which makes the UAV's electro-optical system; and the third between NCMS and guided weapons manufacturer Roketsan. NCMS was established in 2006 with the aim of developing Saudi Arabia's electronics and electro-optics industries.

“Joint projects including localisation will be carried out in the fields of electro-optical surveillance and targeting systems, guidance kits, and guided ammunition for use in UAVs that Baykar exports,” Aselsan said in a statement.

SAMI released an infographic outlining the plan for Saudi companies to build all the aircraft structures, electrical systems, and ground equipment, as well carry out final assembly of the UAVs, integrate their systems and payloads, test them, and maintain them.

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