|Girish Shetti |||Mar 27, 2017 02:20 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images. ) Saudi Arabia is all set to get first Chinese drone factory, after an agreement was signed to this effect during Saudi monarch’s visit to China earlier this month.
Saudi Arabia will get the first Chinese drone factory, after two countries signed an agreement to this effect during Saudi monarch's visit to China earlier this month. This is one of the several military agreements between the two countries in recent times, signalling China's growing engagement with the Middle Eastern region.
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King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has confirmed that it has signed a deal with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which produces China's CH-4 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), whose capabilities are comparable to the American Air Force's MQ-1 Predator.
The CH-4 drone is said to have reconnaissance and combat functions that are considered to be handy for counter terrorism purposes. In fact, CASC has been focused on prompting drone's counter-terrorism features in the Middle East and North Africa market. The drone is already being used by host of Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia.
CH-4 drone's cost effective pricing is considered to be one of its main USP's, since it is way cheaper than America's MQ-1 Predator. According to a report published in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Iraq had decided to opt for the CH-4 over the US Predator because it was costing them way less. In terms of price, a CH-4 costs roughly US$4 million, which is four times less than MQ-1 Predators' final pricing of US$20 million.
There is no information about the nitty-gritty of the deal, including the time line about the work on factory will begin and the actual production of CH-4 drone will start.
A Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong claims that the CH-4 drone deal is probably being offered as a substitute deal, after China's deal to sell DF-21D "carrier killer" ballistic missile to Saudi Arabia could not materialize.
"The DF-21 deal was turned down as a result of strong opposition in the international community amid the Iran nuclear crisis in the region ... Beijing may want to use the CH-4 drone as a substitute project in a bid to please an old friend," Wong said.
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