Saudis Purchase Up Fight Drones with Largest Defense and Aviation Agreement in Turkish History

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed 2 agreements with Turkey’s Baykar corporation on Tuesday to obtain combat drones, the most recent in a series of huge sales for Baykar as the low cost and exceptional performance of its weapons in Ukraine stimulate the interest of federal governments around the world.

Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman saidTuesday the contracts with Baykar have “the goal of boosting the readiness of the kingdom’s armed forces and reinforcing its defense and manufacturing capabilities.”

According to Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar, the Saudi offers represent the biggest defense and aviation contract in Turkey’s history– and another huge Saudi contract to buy munitions from Turkey is still in the works.

“With the comprehensive arrangement, cooperation will be made on innovation transfer and joint production in order to advance the high technology development capability of the two nations in the approaching period,” Bayraktar said.

Baykar representatives said the deal consisted of innovation transfer and joint production of the drones with Saudi business.

Information of the drones bought by the Saudis were not offered, but the deal supposedly consists of Baykar’s Akinci drones, a bigger and more expensive platform than the Bayraktar TB-2 model that made such a big splash in Ukraine.

The Akinci (“Raider”) is billed as a drone replacement for manned fighter jets, efficient in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat with a payload about 10 times as heavy as the TB-2. The Akinci’s big twin engines are made in Ukraine. Haluk Bayraktar has claimed the Akinci drone is superior to the legendary U.S. MQ-9 Reaper, as it boasts more advanced artificial intelligence, and he likewise claimed clients who formerly counted on Chinese drones cast them aside as soon as they have an inventory of Baykar’s top products.

Saudi Arabia ended up being the seventh foreign consumer for Akinci drones. Previous purchasers consisted of Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan, the latter of which credited Bayraktar TB-2 drones for assisting it win the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute versus Armenia in 2020. 2 other Gulf states, Qatar and Kuwait, have acquired TB-2 drones from Turkey.

The deals were settled while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was checking out Saudi Arabia. Erdogan and the de facto Saudi president, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) both participated in the signing event for the drone offers.

Besides bringing a fresh injection of much-needed cash into the Turkish economy, experts view the huge drone sale to Saudi Arabia as a sign Turkey has actually fixed stretched relations after Turkish assistance for the Muslim Brotherhood during the Arab Spring, the Qatar diplomatic crisis, and the murder of author Jamal Khashoggi, killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, greatly outraging Erdogan’s government.

Erdogan plans to drop in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on his trip of the Gulf to drum up more investment in Turkey, where the federal government’s deficit spending has actually surged 700 percent of the previous year, annual inflation is approaching 40 percent, and the nationwide currency has decreased by 29 percent.

Erdogan got some investment commitments from Riyadh in addition to selling drones to the Saudis. His entourage on the Gulf tour consists of about 200 leading Turkish businesspeople, who are arranged to go to commerce online forums in each of the 3 Gulf states they go to.

“We are wishing to enhance our relations and cooperation in numerous fields. We will concentrate on joint investment and industrial efforts to be recognized in the upcoming period,” Erdogan informed reporters as he departed Istanbul.

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