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Turkish combat drones make ‘unprecedented flight’ over three countries

Turkey’s most advanced combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has made an “unprecedented flight” in which it took off from the northwestern province of a Middle Eastern NATO member country and landed in the capital of Azerbaijan, the Turkish Daily Sabah reported today, May 22.

Akıncı’s high-altitude long-range strike UAV will be presented at the Teknofest exhibition in the Transcaucasian republic next week, which will be the first foreign event of one of the world’s largest Turkish aviation, space and technology festivals, the newspaper notes.

Two drones took off from the Chorlu region of the northwestern province of Tekirdag last Saturday: one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The drones flew through Turkey and Georgia before landing at the international airport. Heydar Aliyev in Baku, said the developer of these UAVs, the Turkish company Baykar. Having covered a distance of about 2,000 kilometers, the drones thus completed a five-hour flight in the airspace of the three countries. This happened for the first time in the history of Turkish unmanned aircraft, the Daily Sabah emphasizes.

Along with other advanced defense and technology products developed by Turkish companies, Akıncı will be exhibited at the Baku Aerospace Exhibition from May 26th to 29th. In addition to the leading Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar, many other companies from the Turkish military-industrial complex, including Aselsan, Havelsan, Roketsan, STM, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and its engine manufacturing subsidiary TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI), will showcase their designs. during the Teknofest exhibition.

“As the most advanced and advanced drone built in the country, Akıncı first entered service with the Turkish army at the end of August last year. This UAV thus joined the most famous Turkish-made unmanned system – the Bayraktar TB2 strike and reconnaissance, which are widely used in various countries, including Ukraine, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Poland, ”the publication says.

Six Akıncı have already entered service and are actively used by the Turkish armed forces. They were involved in their first major operation last month when Turkey launched an offensive against PKK militants in northern Iraq.

Akıncı is longer and wider than Bayraktar TB2 and can carry out strategic missions. It has a wingspan of 20 meters, a unique twisted wing design and is equipped with fully automatic flight control and a triple redundant autopilot system. The air platform can carry various weapons, including Smart Micro Munitions (MAM-L) missiles developed by Roketsan. The device is equipped with a locally produced active phased array antenna (AESA) radar.

Roketsan’s air-to-ground Stand-Off Missile (SOM) cruise missile is also being mounted on Akıncı. The missile has a long range – it hits targets at a distance of up to 240 kilometers.

Akıncı at the end of last month conducted the first live firing at a sea target during the tests. It was reported that the drone destroyed the assigned target after the Bayraktar TB2 performed laser guidance on the target.

Baykar is currently developing the Bayraktar TB3 model, which is capable of taking off and landing on the flagship landing ship of the Turkish Navy TCG Anadolu.

Previously, Baykar made a Akıncı export deal with two countries. According to the company, deliveries are planned to be carried out starting in 2023. In which countries the UAV will be delivered is not specified. It is possible that Azerbaijan will be one of them.

Recall that the Turkish authorities have previously claimed that the country has become the fourth largest producer of combat drones in the world. Turkish company Baykar, co-owner and director of which is Seljuk Bayraktarson-in-law of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has sold Bayraktar TB2 drones to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Qatar and Libya. In May 2021, Poland purchased 24 UAVs from Turkey, becoming the first NATO member country to purchase these military products from Ankara. In the Western media after the war in Karabakh in the fall of 2020, publications appeared stating that the Turkish Bayraktars were “changing the military balance in the region.”

On April 22, 2021, the Turkish defense company Roketsan published a video in which the Akıncı high-altitude long-range drone being developed in Turkey destroys a target resembling the Russian Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile and gun system (ZRPK). In the animated video, a Turkish drone equipped with MAM-T smart bombs strikes a target similar to a Russian air defense missile system in a desert area.

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