The Communist nation is playing an increasingly bigger role in the international arms market
The world second biggest economy is opening a bespoke factory geared towards producing the deadly pieces of technology, following an unlikely alliance between Beijing and the Gulf state.
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the state-owned group, brokered a deal with King Salman while he was on a visit to the capital earlier this month.
The Communist nation is playing an increasingly bigger role in the international arms market, filling demands refused to be met by the USA.
While America possesses formidable drone technology, it refuses to sell its Predator and Reaper unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) beyond a select list of european nations, the UK being one of them.
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This has created a vacuum in the market, one that China is only happy to fill.
The new plant will manufacture the Caihnong and Rainbow 4, a surveillance drone armed to the teeth and nearly identical to its American rival the Reaper – but for a fraction of the price.
The US had been keen to maintain military dominance in the market
The factory will be China’s first in the Middle East, with drone plants already established in Pakistan and Burma, and will be overseen by a partnership between the King Adbulaziz City for Science and Technology.
Saudi Arabia has already bought a Wing Loong II drone, geared for reconnaissance but which can also be fitted with missiles.
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The purchase was decried by state news agency, Xinhua, as China’s largest overseas arms deal.
And the Gulf state is not the only country capitalising on Chinese goods, with traditionally western allies such as the United Arab Emirates already thought to have purchased the Rainbow 4.
The Asian nation has developed a high-grade stealth drone
The US had been keen to maintain military dominance in the market, which China is now chipping away at.
The Asian nation has developed a high-grade stealth drone, the only one of its type to be produced outside NATO.
The US refuses to sell its Predator and Reaper unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) outside Europe
American jets and special forces units are fighting alongside Iraqi troops working together to reclaim territory from ISIS.