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SOFEX 2022: Jordan launches UAV test centre

Major General Yousef Ahmed al-Hunaiti inspects the UAV that was used to carry supplies. (Jordanian Armed Forces)

A new facility for testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and associated technology was formally opened in Jordan in the run-up to the SOFEX 2022 show held in Aqaba from 1 to 3 November.

The Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) announced on 27 October that its chief, Major General Yousef Ahmed al-Hunaiti, had opened the first site of its kind in the Middle East to test UAV, counter-UAV, and electronic warfare systems. The facility, which has been developed by a Jordanian company called Deep Element in co-operation with the Jordanian Design & Development Bureau (JODDB), has an air traffic management system.

Deep Element offers security solutions for airspace management, surveillance, and cyber security, and works with the Jordanian military and other security agencies across the Middle East and Africa, the JAF said.

β€œThe launch of the test site represents a quantum leap in enabling the kingdom to manage commercial and government drone operations, support their integration into the national airspace, and provide an effective laboratory for developing future policies, training, and certificates for piloting drones and the effectiveness of confronting them,” it said.

It released a video showing what appeared to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV made by the Chinese company Mugin, but with JODDB branding, carrying small packages marked as medical supplies. It was shown taking off from a facility with a newly laid runway, a helipad, and a new building, and landing near Qasr Kharana castle, about 30 km southwest of Shahid Muwaffaq al-Salti Air Base in Azraq. A Wingtra VTOL UAV, a type usually used for mapping, was also featured in the video.

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