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China to open first drone factory in Saudi Arabia

By Ryan Maass
China to open first drone factory in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia granted the Chinese government permission to construct a facility for manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles signed during King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's visit to China from March 15 to 18. Pictured, a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator in flight. U.S. Air Force photo by Lt Col Leslie Pratt

March 27 (UPI) -- China will soon construct the first unmanned aerial vehicle factory in the Middle East following a meeting with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The New Arab reports Saudi Arabia granted the Chinese permission to move forward with the plan when the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology signed a partnership agreement with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

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Earlier in March, Chinese and Saudi Arabian government officials signaled closer ties by forging an economic pact valued at roughly $65 billion. Saudi King Salman met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign the deal.

According to the South China Post, the new drone agreement facilitates the construction of CH-4 unmanned aerial vehicles. The location is also intended to promote after-sales services for China's clients in the Middle East in addition to satisfying Saudi orders.

The CH-3 is designed to perform various military functions including reconnaissance and combat operations. The platform is already in service in Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.

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