Saudi combat drone makes debut

Saudi combat drone makes debut
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The Saqr 1 combat drone, developed by the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, being showcased at the Dubai Airshow. (AN photo)
Saudi combat drone makes debut
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Dr.-Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud
Saudi combat drone makes debut
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Major General Mohammad Aiash
Saudi combat drone makes debut
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Eng Muneer Bakhsh
Saudi combat drone makes debut
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Saudi combat drone makes debut
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Saudi combat drone makes debut
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Dr. Khaled Alhosan
Updated 15 November 2017

Saudi combat drone makes debut

Saudi combat drone makes debut

DUBAI: The King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) presented its combat drone Saqr 1 at the Dubai Airshow 2017.
The drone is able to fly at an average altitude of 25,000 feet, with a flight time of up to 30 hours, automatic take-off and landing, a parachute in case of emergencies, and day and night cameras.
It can also be equipped with radar, technology for electronic warfare, jamming and eavesdropping, and bombs and rockets with a payload of up to 400 kg.
The director of the drone project, Dr. Khaled Al-Hossan, said Saqr 1 is in line with Vision 2030, which aims to increase local technical content.
“The techniques used in this drone make it one of the top international drones,” he told Arab News.
“It’s characterized by the ability to fly high or low, and to carry laser-guided rockets and bombs.”
The drone is made of carbon and glass fiber, with a light weight and low fuel consumption, Al-Hossan added.
“This drone can complete its tasks independently from take-off to landing, and is controlled from a ground station with high precision and stability in navigation in all aviation conditions,” he said, adding that it has been thoroughly tested.

Work on the drone began in 2000, and four types were produced in different sizes: Saqr 1, 2, 3 and 4, Al-Hossan said.
The production factory is Saudi-owned via the Taqnia Aeronautics Co., which is owned by the Public Investment Fund.
“The factory has a plan from 2019 to 2024 for the design and manufacture of aircraft spare parts. All necessary equipment has been purchased and is now installed,” said Mounir Bakhash, director of the factory.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Ayyash, director of the aircraft transport department at the Taqnia Aeronautics Co., said the Saudi-Ukrainian Antonov AN-132 aircraft is ready for manufacture and sale.
“The structure of the aircraft is designed by a Saudi-Ukrainian partnership,” he told Arab News.
“The aircraft devices are American, British, French and Canadian, but Saudi Arabia plans to manufacture the tires.”
The idea for the plane came out of a partnership between KACST and Ukraine’s Antonov State Co., Ayyash said. “The production line begins in Ukraine and ends in the Kingdom,” he added.
The Antonov AN-132 can be used for various purposes, including electronic warfare, reconnaissance, and transporting personnel and equipment. Before the Dubai Airshow 2017, the aircraft participated in the Paris Air Show 2017.
“Several countries have expressed interest in the plane, such as Turkey, which requested information to negotiate the purchase of nine Antonovs, as well as Malaysia, Peru, Mexico and the UAE,” Ayyash said.


Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response

Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response
Updated 36 min 27 sec ago

Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response

Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response
  • Kingdom has provided support and assistance to millions of people in need
  • Saudi Arabia ranks among the top donor countries in providing humanitarian aid

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia on Monday pledged $430 million toward the UN’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), made the announcement during a virtual pledging conference co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland.
“Because of its keenness to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, I am pleased to announce that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged $430 million to support the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2021, to be implemented through UN agencies, international organizations, and local and regional NGOs,” Al-Rabeeah told the conference.
He said the Kingdom has provided support and assistance to millions of people in need and shares the goal of reducing the effects of the humanitarian crisis.
He added that Saudi Arabia ranks among the top donor countries in providing humanitarian aid regionally and internationally, particularly in Yemen.
“We are meeting today amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis Yemen has already been facing, along with all the additional economic, health and political challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created there,” he said.
Al-Rabeeah said the Iran-backed Houthi militia had caused a major escalation of the crisis with a recent offensive in Marib governorate, which was a safe haven for internally displaced persons.
“The Houthi militia has also scaled up their terrorist actions to threaten neighboring countries,” Al-Rabeeah said.
He was referring to the increase in cross border attacks targeting civilian areas in Saudi Arabia.
“This requires a firm and resolute stand from the international community to protect the Yemeni people and to reach sustainable solutions that achieve security, stability and development for Yemen, and ultimately for the region and the world,” Al-Rabeeah said.
A total of $1.7 billion was pledged during the conference, out of $3.85 that the UN had appealed for.


Cyprus gives Saudi Arabia ‘most favorable’ COVID-19 travel status

Cyprus gives Saudi Arabia ‘most favorable’ COVID-19 travel status
Updated 02 March 2021

Cyprus gives Saudi Arabia ‘most favorable’ COVID-19 travel status

Cyprus gives Saudi Arabia ‘most favorable’ COVID-19 travel status
  • Travelers from Kingdom will not have to quarantine, self-isolate

RIYADH: People traveling from Saudi Arabia to Cyprus will not have to quarantine after the Kingdom was ranked among the least-risky countries for spreading coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The eastern Mediterranean island nation was from Monday welcoming back tourists using a color-category system. Saudi Arabia has been placed in the “most favorable” green category along with countries such as Singapore, Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand.

Some 44 countries have been categorized green, orange, or red. The rest fall into the grey category, whose citizens would require special permission to travel to Cyprus.

The Kingdom was placed in the green category because of its swift response to the virus outbreak by enforcing curfews, travel bans, and creating equal access testing and vaccination centers.

Any passengers arriving in Cyprus from Saudi Arabia will not have to undergo any quarantine or self-isolation period. There will also be no requirement for them to hold a COVID-19 test certificate, although during March they will have to take a COVID-19 test provided free by the Cyprus health ministry.

The ranking system places countries by their number of cases and potential exposure to those arriving from them, and list will be updated weekly.

Tourism underpins the Cypriot economy with almost 4 million tourists visiting in 2019.
 


Houthi missile injures 5 people in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan

Saudi Arabia’s civil defense said a military projectile launched by Yemen’s Houthis fell in Jazan region and injured five civilians. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s civil defense said a military projectile launched by Yemen’s Houthis fell in Jazan region and injured five civilians. (SPA)
Updated 35 sec ago

Houthi missile injures 5 people in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan

Saudi Arabia’s civil defense said a military projectile launched by Yemen’s Houthis fell in Jazan region and injured five civilians. (SPA)
  • The wounded include three Saudi citizens and two Yemeni nationals
  • Two houses, a grocery store and three vehicles were also damaged

RIYADH: Five people were injured when a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia fell in the Jazan region of southwestern Saudi Arabia, state news agency SPA reported early on Tuesday.
The media spokesman for the Directorate of Civil Defense in Jazan, Col. Mohammed bin Yahya Al-Ghamdi, said the authority received a report about a missile launched from Yemen toward one of the border villages in Jazan.
“Upon arrival at the site, it became clear that the military projectile had fallen in a public street, resulting in five civilians being injured,” Col. Al-Ghamdi said.
They included three Saudis and two Yemeni nationals, he said. They suffered moderate injuries due to shrapnel and were transferred to hospital to receive medical care.
“Two houses, a grocery store, three vehicles and several material were damaged from the flying shrapnel,” Col. Al-Ghamdi also said.
The Houthis have stepped up attacks on Saudi civilian targets using drones laden with explosives.


Precautions urged even after vaccination

Precautions urged even after vaccination
The number of Saudis and expats who have received the COVID-19 vaccine has reached 780,667. (SPA)
Updated 02 March 2021

Precautions urged even after vaccination

Precautions urged even after vaccination
  • Health chiefs say COVID-19 vaccine does not undermine immunity

JEDDAH: The Saudi health authorities have reassured the public that any mild symptoms people may experience after receiving the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is not a sign that their immunity has been affected.

“A person’s immunity is not undermined by taking the vaccine,” said Dr. Fahad Al-Zamil, a Saudi infectious diseases consultant, in a phone interview with Al-Youm TV show on Al Ekhbariya channel.
“What happens to people after taking the vaccination is that they experience some mild symptoms such as a cold, fever, and they assume that the vaccination reduced their immunity,” he explained. “The main goal of vaccinations is to enhance immunity, not reduce it.”
The consultant also stressed even after taking the vaccine people needed to adhere to precautionary measures, such as social distancing and wearing a mask.
Al-Zamil said that the COVID-19 vaccine is similar to other vaccinations, such as that of influenza.
“Vaccines, God willing, are a powerful weapon in protecting lives,” said Health Ministry’s spokesperson Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly describing the vaccine as “highly safe and effective.”
The Ministry of Health on Monday reported 317 new cases, meaning that 377,700 people have now contracted the disease since the beginning of the outbreak. Of these, 2,560 remain active, 492 of them in critical condition.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Kingdom on Monday reported 317 new cases.

• 335 patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the total to 368,640 recoveries.

• Saudi Arabia reported six more virus-related deaths on Monday.

According to the ministry, 142 of the newly recorded cases were in the Riyadh region, 72 in the Eastern Province, 45 in the Makkah region and seven in the Madinah region.
In addition, 335 patients had recovered from the disease, bringing the total to 368,640 recoveries.
Saudi Arabia reported six more virus-related deaths on Monday. The death toll now stands at 6,500.
The Kingdom has so far conducted 13,680,202 PCR tests, with 47,125 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Among those testing hubs are Taakad (make sure) centers and Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while the Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms, such as fever, loss of taste and smell and breathing difficulties.
Appointments to both services can be made through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Saudis and expats in the Kingdom continue to receive their doses of the vaccine, which they registered for through the ministry’s app.
The number of those who received the COVID-19 vaccine stands at 780,667 people so far.


Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf

Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf
Barq provides rescue and safety training to all its recruits, including basic first aid, in addition to the several awareness campaigns they provide to the public on a regular basis. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 02 March 2021

Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf

Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf
  • The Barq Rescue Team are the people to call if you are stranded in the outdoors

RIYADH: With camping season in full swing across the Kingdom many Saudi families are taking the opportunity to engage in fun COVID-friendly activities.

Desert camping (or kashtas, as they’re colloquially known), hiking trips, and other outdoorsy activities are taking place all over the country.
However, due to the nature of these activities, the likelihood of accidents tends to increase, especially among first-timers or otherwise inexperienced outdoorsmen.
Fortunately, a group of dedicated volunteers is working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the Kingdom’s budding outdoor enthusiasts, allowing virtually anyone to dabble in those types of activities without fear.
Founded in 2017, the Barq (Arabic for “lightning”) Rescue Team is Saudi Arabia’s first accredited volunteer rescue team. Certified by the Saudi Civil Defense and the Ministry of Interior, the group is a member of both the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the UN’s International Association for Voluntary Efforts.
Barq’s team leader, Talal Abdulghani, told Arab News that the team started off as an unofficial group of four-wheel drive vehicle owners who saw an opportunity to utilize their equipment for the greater good.
“We first had the idea to create the team during the 2017 flooding in Jeddah,” Abdulghani said. “Those of us with suitable cars that were fitted with off-roading equipment found ourselves able to help out, and we decided to make it an official team.”
What started off as a small group of volunteers quickly gained traction. Today, Barq has more than 950 volunteers spread out across the Kingdom, with members assisting stranded drivers all over the Gulf countries. And at least 120 of those members are women.

FASTFACTS

• Founded in 2017, the Barq Rescue Team is Saudi Arabia’s first accredited volunteer rescue team.

• Certified by the Saudi Civil Defense and the Ministry of Interior, the group is a member of both the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the UN’s International Association for Voluntary Efforts.

“Every member of the team joined us out of passion and the desire to help others,” Abdulghani said, “We’re not getting paid, nor do we charge for our services, and all of us have day jobs. We volunteer out of a sense of duty to our country and community.”
Abdulghani told Arab News that one or two deaths tend to occur every month out in the desert, especially in remote locations or due to a lack of experience. Anyone stranded in the desert can call the 24-hour hotline to receive assistance from one of their team members, who will arrive on the site to help if they need to or can offer help over the phone or via WhatsApp.
“Considering the number of calls we get every day, sometimes we find it better to try to assist over the phone instead of heading to a location ourselves,” said Abdulghani. “That way, instead of just showing up and taking over, we give people a chance to learn from their mistakes with our guidance and prevent similar incidents in the future.”
However, Barq’s team is not only comprised of drivers; Abdulghani says that anyone can join up, provided they have something to offer.
“We have members who are doctors and paramedics, who can offer first aid in case we need to rescue someone who is injured, and mechanics who are able to fix cars that have broken down or stalled, or been damaged. We also have photographers, lawyers and so on,” he said.
Abdulghani said an interesting side effect of their work was that many of those rescued have been inspired to join the team themselves.
One of those people is Samaher Al-Qwasmi, who said: “I was taking a trip with my mother and brother to Khaleej Salman beach, and I ended up driving a little too close to the water. Eventually, I found myself stuck because it was so muddy, and I could feel the car sinking down into the mud,” she said.
Not knowing what to do, and with poor phone service, she contacted her uncle, who directed her to call Barq.
“They asked me a lot of questions about how many people we were, what our location was, whether or not we had food, and so on. They were very thorough about making sure we were safe, and that in turn made me feel safer,” she said.

Barq’s team is not only comprised of drivers. Anyone can join up, provided they have something to offer.

The team maintained contact until they were able to send someone to rescue them, sending four cars to help pull her vehicle out of the mud. Their efforts are something Al-Qwasmi appreciates so much more now that she has an idea of exactly how much work a rescue operation entails.
“There are so many people in the same situation at the same time. Just looking at our WhatsApp group now, there are 10 or more cases a day, and some rescues may require a lot of work,” she said.
“I joined because it’s something nice to do for the community. It feels good to give back, to be able to do good but also to help people become more aware of the existence of teams like ours,” she said. “We’re like one family; I don’t think anyone is doing this for the sake of the money or anything like that. Apart from the rescues, we also have events where we get together as a team and just hang out.”
Apart from their rescue operations, Barq also does community service work. Last May, Barq launched a campaign to distribute food and other essential items to quarantine sites across the Makkah region and the Eastern Province, helping residents stuck at home while also helping to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Barq provides rescue and safety training to all its recruits, including basic first aid, in addition to the several awareness campaigns they provide to the public on a regular basis.
Those interested in joining up as volunteers can register on the team’s website, https://barqrescue.org/