King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology unveils strategic drone program Saqr 1

The strategic Saqr 1 UAV is equipped with a KA satellite communication system that gives superiority and privilege to this aircraft to fly at a range of more than 2,500 km. (SPA)
Updated 12 May 2017

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology unveils strategic drone program Saqr 1

JEDDAH: The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) unveiled in Riyadh on Thursday the strategic drone program Saqr 1.
Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, president of KACST, said the techniques used in this aircraft put it in the list of the world best UAVs.
“Saqr 1 is equipped with a KA satellite communication system that gives superiority and privilege to this aircraft to fly at a range of more than 2500 km,” he said.
He also stressed the ability of the aircraft to fly low and high when necessary, as well as the ability to carry missiles and guided bombs by the laser system and launch from different heights of 500 to 6,000 meters and up to 10 km with accuracy of less than 1.5 m.
Prince Turki pointed out that sensitive technologies were transferred to this project, such as rocket techniques and sensor systems including high-temperature thermal cameras and laser systems from several international companies with global experience.
The strategic UAV is characterized by its ability to fly at an average altitude of 20,000 feet and a flight time up to 24 hours. It also features automatic takeoff and landing.
It can also use parachutes in case of emergency. It can carry day and night cameras and can be equipped with radar techniques, electronic warfare techniques, electronic jamming and eavesdropping.
Prince Turki said: “The strategic aircraft is made of carbon fiber and glass, and is characterized by light weight and low consumption of fuel due to its good design and manufacturing efficiency.”
He added: “Saqr 1 was designed and manufactured by Saudi hands in KACST, where Saudi national cadres capable of manufacturing, operating and maintaining it were trained.”
“A single system consisting of two aircrafts and an operating room was developed,” he said. “It is a developed system of the first generation, which contains satellite communication and ammunitions.”
He pointed out that work is being undertaken on the third generation of this aircraft through the manufacture of four aircraft and an operating room ending in 2018.


Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

Updated 18 min 43 sec ago

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

  • People celebrating Eid alone or abroad find ways to stay positive

JEDDAH: For different reasons many people living in the Kingdom have found themselves alone for the holidays due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, their spirits dampened as they are forced to stay home alone, away from loved ones.

As the pandemic enters its third month in Saudi Arabia, flights have not yet resumed, strict social distancing and safety measures are still in place and curfews have been reimposed to curb the spread of the virus during the Eid holidays.

Many families are stranded in cities across the Kingdom, while Saudis studying and working abroad are either stuck or have chosen to spend summer where they are out of fear they will not be able to return and start their new semesters.

Some people were able to move in with their families and quarantine together, while others were deprived of that chance.

A number of Saudi nationals, including students, have been repatriated in the past couple of weeks while others are still waiting for their turn.

Yousef Al-Ayesh, a 21-year-old senior student at Arizona State University, has been at home since late March as a precautionary measure.

He said that Eid with his family in Jeddah was one event that everyone looked forward to all year long. Under normal circumstances the first three days of Eid would be filled with events — family dinners at night and beach excursions during the day. Although he would be sleep-deprived, he would still make the most of the little time he spent with his family due to his studies.

“With all that’s going on, it doesn’t even feel like it’s Eid,” he told Arab News. 

“It most probably would have been different if I was back in Saudi Arabia but I still wouldn’t have been able to celebrate it the same way. It’s not that bad here (in the US) now since restaurants have reopened and my friends and I have the outdoors to enjoy, have a barbecue, or just hang out. I would have felt worse if I was alone. Ramadan was already odd enough, I don’t think I would have been OK if it were the case without them.”

Although his family lives 8,000 miles away he did not feel alone as his group of friends decided to celebrate together, even without the perks of new clothes and eidiyas from aunts and uncles.

It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed

Al-Ayesh hoped to be repatriated to the Kingdom soon and spend some time with his family after his mandatory quarantine.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed, a 29-year-old expat working and living in Riyadh, said this year’s Eid was tough without his family.

Although he is used to living alone because of his job, Eid was the one occasion he looked forward to the most every year because he got to travel to Cairo and be with his family.

“My family moved from Jeddah to Cairo about four or five years ago and Eid is a significant occasion in the family, Eid Al-Fitr is significantly more special than Eid Al-Adha even,” he told Arab News. “I look forward to traveling to see them every year since moving to Riyadh but wasn’t able to with the lockdown, so we all got together on FaceTime video call and spent the whole day speaking to family members.”

Like many expats, Fareed has spent the past months at home and said it was hard for him and his family but that communication had made the ordeal slightly easier.

“It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way,” he added.