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The Turkish defense company, Baykar, announced on 15 December that its first unmanned aerial combat aircraft (UCAV), powered by a jet engine, had successfully completed its first test flights. The company is rapidly expanding its international business following the success of its unmanned drones in Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
According to the reports, the drone has an “operational altitude of 35,000 feet, a maximum takeoff weight of 6 tons, and a payload capacity of 1,500 kilograms.” Newsweek reported that the new drone could fly for up to five hours and reach a speed of 500 mph.
The UCAV will also boost the top speed and carrying capacity of Turkiye’s current drones, which have been actively involved in northern Iraq and Libya.
Due to the company’s earlier Bayraktar TB2 drone’s key role in international wars, Baykar gained international attention and became a significant manufacturer and exporter.
Selcuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s chief technology officer, said that Kizilelma “is a critically important and strategic project that will carry Turkey to a higher league in the defense industry,” according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, an exclusive report by Middle East Eye (MEE) detailed the boost in Turkish arms sales to several African countries over the past few years, signifying Ankara’s growing role as a leading weapons exporter.
According to the report, Algeria is currently on the brink of signing an agreement with Turkiye to purchase its Anka-10 drones, produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The North African country’s regional rival, Morocco, reportedly ordered 13 Bayraktar TB2 drones in 2021.
Last year, Niger became the first overseas customer to order the Hurkus turboprop attack plane, also produced by TAI. Chad and Libya have ordered the aircraft, while Nigeria and Ethiopia are acquiring Turkish-made drones and patrol boats.
Additionally, on 28 October, Baykar announced its plans to complete the construction of a drone manufacturing plant in Ukraine. A month earlier, Ankara delivered 20 drones to the UAE.