Turkey is considering transferring Bayraktar Akinci drones to Ukraine, the general director of the defense manufacturing firm Baykar, Haluk Bayraktar, told broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
“With regard to Bayraktar Akinci, this matter is currently under consideration, as far as I know. Ukrainian military personnel are well aware of what we manufacture and invest in. Therefore, our plan is to produce all the systems we have here in Ukraine,” Bayraktar said.
He highlighted that the company already supplies Bayraktar TB2 drones to the Ukrainian army, and stressed that ties between Turkey and Ukraine in the defense industry are at a “strategic level.”
“We have the necessary permits for this. Therefore, we can fully manufacture Bayraktar TB2 here in Ukraine, rather than assembling it. Additionally, we can fully manufacture Bayraktar Akinci here. We have permits from our government for this, which demonstrates how close we are to implementation,” he added.
According to Baykar, the Bayraktar Akinci can carry various payloads and is capable of conducting operations that are performed with fighter jets. It carries electronic support systems, dual satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, collision avoidance radar and synthetic aperture radar. The drone can be used in air-to-ground and air-to-air attack missions. It features basic flight performance criteria including 40,000 fleet flight altitude and 24 hours airtime.
In October 2022, the CEO of Baykar revealed plans to complete the construction of a manufacturing plant in Ukraine within a two-year timeframe. This announcement came after Baykar gained significant recognition for the effectiveness of its drones in countering Russian forces. The aerial drones supplied by Baykar played a crucial role in Ukraine's defense, particularly in the initial weeks of the Russian invasion, where they successfully countered Russian armor and anti-aircraft systems. The decision to establish a manufacturing plant in Ukraine was part of an agreement between Turkey and Ukraine, which was signed just before the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in August that should a manufacturing plant of Turkish combat drones open in Ukraine, it will be subject to “immediate demilitarization,” as cited by state news agency TASS.