Turkey Builds Military Capability With Locally Made Armed Drones
Turkey’s military added a new generation of locally produced armed drones to its fleet on Sunday as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to make the nation’s military more self-sufficient.
The Akinci aircraft is made by Baykar, a private Turkish drone maker with family ties to Erdogan. The unmanned plane is more advanced than the company’s Bayraktar TB2, which has been sold to countries including Ukraine and Poland.
“With Akinci, Turkey has become one of the top three countries in the world producing that technology,” Erdogan said, speaking during the delivery ceremony in Corlu, a city in the northwest.
Baykar says the Akinci, Turkish for “raider,” can attack targets in the air and on the ground, and operate alongside fighter jets, flying higher and staying in the air longer than Turkey’s existing pilotless planes.
The drones will carry a range of missiles developed by Turkey’s Roketsan.
Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles have been used in Ankara’s lengthy conflict with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party in the country’s southeast, as well as in northern Iraq and Syria.
They were also deployed to support Turkish allies last year, helping block a push by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar to capture Tripoli. Drones were also used to aid Azeri forces who seized territory from Armenia in a 44-day conflict in 2020.
The push for homegrown technology that’s pitching Ankara into uneasy alliances has been straining ties with its traditional NATO partners.
Baykar’s chief technology officer, Selcuk Bayraktar, is Erdogan’s son-in-law.
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