Turkey to Add More Advanced Drone to Fleet That Has Swung Wars
Turkey’s military will take delivery of the first in a new generation of locally manufactured armed drones on Sunday, expanding a fleet that has played major roles in conflicts from Libya to Azerbaijan.
The Akinci aircraft is made by Baykar, a private Turkish drone maker with family ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The plane is more advanced than the company’s Bayraktar TB2, which has been sold to countries including Ukraine and Poland.
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 decades-old 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 defeat a push to capture Tripoli by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, and supporting Azeri forces who seized territory from Armenia in a 44-day conflict.
Baykar’s chief technology officer, Selcuk Bayraktar, is Erdogan’s son-in-law. The president is expected to attend Sunday’s ceremony and give a speech.
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