(Photo Credit: AA)
On 18 January, Kuwait signed a $370 million agreement with Turkish arms manufacturer Baykar to purchase Bayraktar TB2 armed drones.
According to inside reports, the Bayraktar TB2 drones have an estimated cost of $5 million and also include 100 MAM-L smart micro munitions, bringing the total price up to $15 million.
These drones have been proven to be highly capable, as they have been used in several combat zones in Syria, Libya, and in the Nagorno-Karabakh region between the Azeri and Armenian borders. Last year, Turkiye sold its drones to Ukraine, which were used against the Russian forces and proven effective.
Turkiye is currently constructing a drone factory in Ukraine, which according to Baykar’s chief executive, Haluk Bayraktar, will be completed in two years.
Ukrainian ambassador to Turkiye Vasyl Bodnar revealed the construction of the drone plant on Ukrainian territory back in August last year.
Ankara has remained neutral in the conflict, as Turkiye doubled its Russian oil imports in 2022 and adopted the Russian Mir payment system, yet does not recognize Moscow’s annexed territories in Ukraine.
As of now, 28 countries have purchased Turkiye’s drones, including NATO state Poland, as well as the UAE, which received 20 drones from Ankara last year in a $2 billion agreement, according to Reuters.
The UAE and Turkiye have recently begun restoring diplomatic ties with one another this year, following years-long hostilities over disagreements relating to the future of Libya, Ankara’s support of armed groups in Syria, and its close ties to Qatar, a regional rival of the UAE.
On 26 September 2022, Malaysia and Indonesia expressed an interest in buying armed drones from the Baykar firm, due to their effectiveness in the field.
“Many Asian countries, especially Malaysia and Indonesia, show great interest in our defense industry products. Agreements are being signed,” Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Tokyo.
International demand for Baykar’s manufactured drones soared after their success in Ukraine, Syria, and Libya; they contain laser-guided, armor-piercing bombs that helped repel a UAE offensive in Libya two years prior.
The Baykar company is a family business of Turkish President Recip Tayyep Erdogan’s son-in-law, Selcuk Bayraktar, who is married to the younger of the president’s two daughters.