According to the data released by the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) 3 pcs Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) were exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the Turkish company/companies in 2020. In addition, it was noted in the report that 2 pcs missiles and / or missile launcher vehicles were exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the Republic of Turkey in 2020.
It is not clear which company’s solution is the UAV Systems in question. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to expand armed drone fleet, VESTEL had chosen KARAYEL Tactical UAS. It is considered that the export may be the Karayel UAS produced by Vestel Defense.
On January 27, 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) posted a video on its Twitter account of the localization activities. For the KARAYEL Tactical UAS developed by VESTEL, the information note “Starting the development and production of Unmanned aerial vehicles as of April 2020” was written in the information video. The related development in Defence Turk was conveyed with the title “Saudi Arabia produces Turkish Armed UAV as of 2021.”
تدشين أعمال تطوير وتصنيع وتوطين منظومات "طائرات بدون طيار" بالتنسيق بين الهيئة العامة للصناعات العسكرية وشركة إنترا للتقنيات الدفاعية الحاصله على ترخيص صناعي من الهيئة، حيث تستهدف إطلاق 6 أنظمة طائرات من دون طيار في 2021م، و40 نظاماً خلال 5 سنوات
— الهيئة العامة للصناعات العسكرية (@GAMI_KSA) April 27, 2020
In the statement made in April 2020, details about the project calendar were given. Within this scope, 6 pcs UAS by 2021 and totaly 40 pcs UAS in 5 years are aimed to be manufactured. No details on technical specifications were shared.
Regarding the KARAYEL UAS, which will be produced by INTRA Defense Technologies, it is seen in the image on the company’s website that the aircraft can carry 4 mini smart munitions. Munitions are considered to be ROKETSAN’s MAM-L. The local name of UAS to be produced by INTRA Defense Technologies will be “HABOOB”.
Karayel Will Be Produced by Intra Defense
Vestel Defense entered into an agreement to manufacture electronical systems of Karayel UAS with Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) in Dubai Airshow, in 2017. In accordance with the agreement, manufacturing electronic parts and maintenance of Karayel will be transferred to AEC, located in Saudi Arabia.
In Dubai Airshow 2019, Intra Defense Technologies, centered in Riyadh, exhibited in its own stand Karayel-Su Armed UAS developed by Vestel Defense to offer to market.
In the statement by Saudi Arabia Kingdom General Directorate of Military Industry, it was expressed that Intra Defense Technologies was permitted by Saudi Arabia Kingdom to launch the project to start licensed-production of the UAS.
Intra Defense Technologies has announced on its website that they have all selling and marketing rights of Karayel Tactical UAS, which is described as “self-proven UAV” and has successfully completed thousands of operations.
The project covers an investment of 750 million riyals, which equals to 200 million dollars, and it will have been launched in the first quarter of 2021, SPA, a Saudi Arabia news agency, reported.
In March, 2020, Intra Defense Technologies signed a contract for land allocation with the Industrial Cities and Technology Regions Institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (MODON) for the development of unmanned aerial systems.
Vestel Karayel Tactical UAV
Vestel Defense, which has been carrying out intense activities on unmanned aerial vehicles since its establishment in 2003, has developed EFE, BORA and KARAYEL National UAV in the Mini, Midi and Tactical UAV categories, with the knowledge and experience it gained in its works.
KARAYEL Tactical UAS is the first and only Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle designed and produced according to NATO’s STANAG-4671 for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. KARAYEL system has unique triple redundant distributed avionics architecture which ensures protection against all kinds of uncontrolled crash. With this feature, VESTEL Defense has carried systematic fault safety used only in manned aviation in the world until now to an unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time with KARAYEL. The aerial vehicle has the ability to protect against lightning thanks to the aluminum network grid on its composite structure. ‘De-Icing System’, which automatically detects icing conditions and activates, is used. With this feature, KARAYEL resists adverse weather conditions and shows superior. It has the ability to detect and identify targets with the payloads it carries for reconnaissance and surveillance, and to direct laser controlled ammunitions thanks to the marking system. Developed by Vestel Defense for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Karayel Tactical UAS has become a proven platform, successfully passing many tests since 2016.
KARAYEL-SU with Improved Features
KARAYEL-SU, the first and only Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle designed and manufactured according to NATO’s ‘Civil Airspace’ Standard STANAG-4671, is a developed model of KARAYEL, with its increased payload capacity, endurance time and ammunition integration. What makes it that attractive is that with ROKETSAN MAM-L and MAM-C smart ammunition integrated into the UAV, KARAYEL-SU has a wing span of 13 m and a maximum take-off weight of 630 kg, 120 kg underwing and 50 kg underbody load capacity. With the endurance of 8 h, the UAS can also operate at an altitude of 18,000 ft.