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Saudi unveils indigenous combat drone Saqr 1

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its first combat drone dubbed Saqr 1(Falcon in Arabic), claimed to be indigenously developed.

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) unveiled the Saqr 1 in Riyadh, which can carry out su…


Saudi Arabia has unveiled its first combat drone dubbed Saqr 1(Falcon in Arabic), claimed to be indigenously developed.

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) unveiled the Saqr 1 in Riyadh, which can carry out surveillance and air to ground attack missions.

The Saqr 1 have a conventional design with twin vertical tails and non-retractable tri-cycle undercarriage with a wingspan of 18 meters and length of 9.2 meters.

Fuselage and wings and fuselage are built using carbon fibre composites that reduce weight and reduce radar signature of the aircraft.



Design of the Saqr 1 closely resemble the cancelled South African Denel Dynamics Bateleur MALE UAV. In 2013 Saudi and Denel where reportedly collaborating on developing an armed version of a Denel UAV.

In case of a in-flight emergency, the redundant flight control systems can automatically return the aircraft to the base or initiate an emergency landing in the wide deserts of the Kingdom.

The unmanned drone is equipped with a Ka band satellite data link in the forward upper fuselage bulge that enable long range missions of more than 2500 km.

With a maximum take off weight of 1,400 kg, the Saqr 1 can reach a maximum altitude of 18-22,000 ft and can continuously fly for 48-24 hours.

An electro optical/Infrared (EO/IR) turret below the nose, allow for day and night targeting and surveillance missions.

The Saqr-1 is equipped with two under wing weapon stations that can carry a total payload of 250 kg including air to ground missiles with a strike range of 10 km, and laser guided bombs with a accuracy of 1.5 m from altitude ranging from 500 m to 6 km.

It has been integrated with Chinese 50 kg FT-9 precision guided bombs and the laser guided 45 kg AR-1 air to ground missile.

The unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) in the medium altitude long range (MALE) category is powered by a single Rotax 914 piston engine rated at 75 kW (101 hp) in pusher configuration.

Development of the aircraft took four years and employed over 200 Saudi Engineers from KACST's Aeronautical Technology center.

Other than military roles, the Saqr 1 can also used for border patrols, search and rescue, remote sensing and during events of environmental disasters.

As a part of Saudi Arabia's SaudiVision 2030 program to reduce dependence on oil and diversify its revenue, KACST is engaged in various aeronautical research programs to develop the aeronautical capabilities of the country.

KACST has also funded development of a westernized version of the Soveit era An-32 transport planned dubbed An-132 with Ukrainian Antonov.