Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar has delivered 20 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since the beginning of the month and could sell more, Reuters reported on September 21 citing two Turkish sources.
Bayraktar TB2 drones saw major success in conflicts in Libya, Syria and the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh over the last few years. Nevertheless, they recently failed in the face of the Russian military in Ukraine.
The UAE interest in the combat drone was first reported by The Middle East Eye earlier this month. The London-based news outlet said that Abu Dhabi was in talks with Baykar to purchase a total of 120 drones.
A source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters that Turkey decided during the negotiations with the UAE to “quickly deliver 20 combat drones.” The source went on to reveal that Saudi Arabia is also in talks to purchase Turkish drones.
A senior Turkish official confirmed that Turkey has delivered some Bayraktar TB2 drones to the UAE and that Abu Dhabi was seeking more. The official also confirmed that Saudi Arabia wants to buy combat drones and to set up a factory to manufacture them.
According to the unnamed official, Baykar is considering the Saudi request for a manufacturing plant but said that was a strategic decision for President Tayyip Erdogan to make. The source linked the decision to other key issues, such as Saudi investments in Turkey, noting that they “are not moving as fast as possible.”
Baykar is currently working in full gear to fulfill orders for Bayraktar TB2 combat drones. Last August, Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar revealed that his company has a three-year-long backlog of orders and that its can produce about 20 Bayraktar TB2s in a month.
Each Bayraktar TB2 goes for $5m and each drone typically comes with 100 MAM-L\C precision-guided munitions, which together are worth $15m. There is also an additional cost for training as well as the command-and-control centers.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been both working to strengthen their offensive capabilities for years now. Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drones which were sold to Abu Dhabi and may be soon sold to Riyadh will likely end up used in Yemen, where the two states have been leading a coalition against the Iran-allied Houthis [Ansar Allah].
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