WDS 2024: PSDSARC showcases Shaheen SH-01 vertical takeoff and landing drone
At the 2024 World Defense Show, the Prince Sultan Advanced Technology Research Institute (PSDSARC) from Saudi Arabia made a significant impact by showcasing the Shaheen SH-01, a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Designed to meet surveillance, reconnaissance, and transport requirements, the Shaheen SH-01 stands out for its ability to operate from both land and ships, thus eliminating the need for a runway.
Constructed from a lightweight carbon composite structure, the Shaheen SH-01 is equipped with four electric motors and rotating wings, enhancing its efficiency and allowing for wing orientation adjustments to optimize flight. To ease transportation, its wings and tail can be detached. This drone can reach a maximum altitude of 3,000 meters and has a maximum flight endurance of 3 hours, thanks to its hybrid power system.
The Shaheen SH-01 features a stabilized EO/IR day/night vision system capable of scanning and tracking objects, and communicates via an S/C Band (Omni) data link with a maximum range of 50 km. Its navigation and flight control are managed by a redundant navigation and flight control computer, providing GPS/INS-based navigation with air-data assist and a flight director (Airspeed, Altitude, Heading).
With a wingspan of 3 meters, a maximum takeoff weight of 40 kg, and a payload capacity of 4 kg, the Shaheen SH-01 offers a versatile solution for missions requiring speed and powerful flight performance. Its eight electric motors ensure high performance, while its variety of payloads, including high-resolution cameras and electronic warfare equipment, underline its operational flexibility.
The development of the Shaheen SH-01 drone by Saudi Arabia is part of a broader strategy to enhance its military production capabilities. In this context, the kingdom has engaged in international collaborations, notably with China for the development of ballistic missiles, and with Turkey, through a recent contract for drone acquisitions. These efforts reflect Saudi Arabia’s ambition to diversify its strategic partnerships and develop its own defense and production capabilities. This initiative is also part of a wider effort to counterbalance Iran’s regional influence in this field.