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Turkey among top 3 countries in world in combat drone technology


Goal is to develop armed drones that can take off, land on aircraft carriers with short runways, says Turkish president.

Turkey has risen to the world’s top three in combat drone technology, the Turkish president said on Sunday.

“With our unmanned combat aerial vehicle Akinci, Turkey has become one of the three most advanced countries in the world in this technology,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the delivery ceremony for the Baykar Akinci combat drone in the northwestern Tekirdag province.

Erdogan expressed hope that the Akinci will strengthen Turkey’s “sincere efforts” to establish trust, peace, and justice in both the region and the world.

Underlining that Turkey is determined to become the leading country in combat drones, Erdogan said Turkey has to develop new technologies.

The nation’s goal is to develop armed drones that can take off and land on aircraft carriers with short runways for use in missions abroad, he added.

Erdogan also praised Turkey’s extensive use of home-sourced defense products, which in recent years leaped from 20% to about 80%.

Defense success for humanity

The level Turkey has reached in unmanned aerial vehicle technology shows the success of its capabilities in the defense industry, a feat recognized by the whole world, Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey’s principle is to present every technology that it develops for the benefit of all humanity.

Stressing that all the drones produced by Turkish defense companies are in high demand worldwide, he said new export agreements were signed with more than 10 countries, including NATO member Poland.

Several countries are waiting in line to buy Turkish drones, he said. “It is important that our national technologies contribute to the security of allied countries, but we make our decisions according to our own strategic priorities,” he added.

Pointing to a new drone test and evaluation center in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said they have taken national production competencies in this sector to the next level.

"Thanks to all these investments, our defense industry continues to grow. But now it’s time to step up in the technologies of the future, especially in defense industry projects," he added.

"Besides many defense industry products, Turkey is a country that has proven itself, especially in unmanned vehicle technologies. Today, the whole world is talking about the new combat doctrine that we applied in Syria, Libya, and Azerbaijan through our unmanned aerial vehicles," he added.

The delivery ceremony was also attended by Vice President Fuat Oktay, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, and Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar and Chief Technology Officer Selcuk Bayraktar.

After observing Akinci’s taxiing, takeoff, and low flight maneuvering, Erdogan toured the aircraft control center.

Turkey can build national unmanned warplane

Selcuk Bayraktar told reporters after the ceremony that with the experience they gained, they also worked on an unmanned warplane. He said producing unmanned warplanes has been their dream for about 10 years.

Noting that serial production of the Akinci drone continues, he said they have produced the ninth aerial vehicle, but not all of them were mass-produced.

Contracts for exports of Turkey’s domestically produced Bayraktar TB2 drones have been signed for more than 10 countries, he said, adding that it has flown in four countries besides Turkey.

“Since Akinci is of course a much more strategic platform, it attracted much more attention when we first started designing it and in the later stages. First of all, we said that we would evaluate those demands by completing our own production, perfecting the aircraft, and making it ready for mass production,” he said.

“There is also a serious demand for the Akinci since it is a very rare aircraft in a higher class,” he added.

Underlining that the Akinci will be used in more strategic missions, he said: "It can carry a much wider range of ammunition. It can carry all ammunition including air-to-ground, cruise missiles, air-to-air. Its mission capacity is very high.”

On July 8, the Bayraktar Akinci made Turkish aviation history by climbing to 38,039 feet (11,594 meters) – a new record – in a flight that lasted for 25 hours and 46 minutes.

The Akinci, which to date has made 874 sorties in test and training flights, hit its targets with full accuracy in a July 5 firing test with warhead ammunition developed by Turkish rocket maker Roketsan.

Source: Anadolu Agency