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Saudi Arabia agrees to produce Turkey’s Baykar drones

Riyadh wants to boost its military might, especially with the prospect of its main rival Iran developing its nuclear enrichment capabilities.
Baykar Press Office/dia images via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with Turkish defense firm Baykar to localize the manufacturing of its popular drones in the kingdom, state-owned Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) said on Twitter Sunday.

SAMI is a defense company launched in May 2017 by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The new drone pact will support Saudi Arabia’s defenses and bolster the kingdom’s military manufacturing capabilities, in line with the Vision 2030 initiative, SAMI said. Bakyar drones are growing in popularity and have been deployed in conflicts from Ukraine to Libya. The company’s UAVs are often preferred for their affordability, Baykar’s substantial tech support and the weapons’ offensive capabilities.

In July, during Turkish President Recep Tayyip’s Erdogan’s visit to the Gulf, Saudi Arabia agreed to buy Baykar drones. Although the number and cost of the drones were not revealed, the deal has been reported as the biggest defense contract in Turkey’s history. It was the Turkish leader’s first visit to the region since being reelected by a narrow margin in May, and his main mission was to drive inward investment into Turkey, which has been beset with financial difficulties, including a currency crisis and sky-high inflation.

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