On June 29th, Turkish “drone magnate” Baykar revealed another customer of its Bayraktar TB2 combat UAV.
Its none other than powerhouse Albania.
Albania is the latest customer interested in striking a deal to procure this particular combat drone, which is already owned by Azerbaijan, Qatar, Ukraine and will be delivered to Poland under a recently inked deal.
The combat drone has been operated by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in Syria and Libya in various roles, from neutralizing enemy air defense systems or securing airports along with its being used by Azerbaijan’s army in delivering a heavy blow to Armenian occupying forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
It is notorious for its use on various civilian targets, and as such Canada, Germany and other countries specifically prohibited sales to Turkey of parts used in the Bayraktar TB2.
The approval came after Albanian Interior Minister Bledar Çuçi and military officials paid a visit to Turkey.
After visiting the Bayraktar production facility in Istanbul, Çuçi signaled that his country would likely purchase the drone.
“We are evaluating the possibility of using Turkish UCAVs for civilian and military purposes in Albania,” he said.
Among the countries using Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, Poland’s interest was particularly important since it became the first NATO member state to commit to purchasing the Turkish drones. Warsaw signed the related agreement to purchase 24 Bayraktar TB2s back in May.
Authorities in Turkey say the country has become the world’s fourth-largest drone producer since Ankara took the helm for domestic production to reduce reliance on Western arms.
Apart from the Bayraktar TB2, another drone developed by a Turkish firm, namely the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), the Anka medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UCAV, drew attention abroad with Tunisia becoming the first country to acquire the product.
If even Albania, a country with a GDP of barely $15 billion can set aside $9 million to purchase drones, then this stands as evidence of Turkey’s effective propaganda and influence campaign to try and sell its product.
Previously, Latvia has signaled it could be the second European Union and NATO member state to acquire Turkish drones, after Poland.
Human rights abuses, various questionable conduct and so on are nothing in the face of cheap drones that are also effective in bombing various targets and providing a semblance of security against the presumed aggression coming from Moscow.
The Bayraktar, according to Baykar, the manufacturer, is the world’s most advanced UAV system in its class with its flight automation and performance.
It has a record altitude of 8,200 meters for over 24 hours in the air and can carry 150 kilograms of cargo. It can operate day and night with useful loads.
Performing active reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence flights, the Bayraktar has the ability to transmit the images it obtains to operation centers without delay and to attack targets with its munitions.
An onboard avionic suite with a triple-redundant avionic system encompasses units, enabling a fully autonomous taxiing, takeoff, landing and cruise.
The drone was first delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2014 and upgraded with armament for the first time in 2015. It is currently used by the Gendarmerie General Command, General Directorate of Security Forces and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in their operations.
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