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Turkey-made drones purchased by Ukraine to begin test flights

March 7, 2019 at 3:46 pm

A fleet of Turkey’s locally-made Bayraktar TB2 UAVs (drones) [Bayhaluk / Wikipedia]

Ukraine will soon begin test flights on Turkey’s domestically-manufactured TB2 drones after purchasing the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a deal made earlier this year.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote in a Twitter post that the agreement was signed for the Bayraktar TB2 armed UAVs to be purchased and used by the Ukrainian army, and added that his country will continue to rearm its military with modern technology in order to meet NATO standards.

Bayrak, the Turkish UAV manufacturer, will be producing six Bayraktar TB2 drones and will then deliver them to Ukraine along with three ground control systems and other relevant equipment.

READ: Erdogan says Turkey will not go back on missile defence deal with Russia

This TB2 drone model has been used by Turkey’s Security Directorate and the Turkish Armed Forces since 2015, which currently boasts a fleet of 75 TB2 drones. They were designed and developed for surveillance and tactical reconnaissance missions, consisting of various capabilities including carrying ammunition, conducting armed assaults and laser target acquisition.

This military supply deal between Turkey and Ukraine is the second export agreement of the TB2 drone, the first of which was purchased by Qatar when it signed an agreement to buy six Bayraktar TB2 armed UAVs from Turkey at an international defence exhibition in March 2018.

These strides in Turkey’s defence industry comes at a time when it is embroiled in its own arms dispute with the US, which has been pressuring Turkey not to purchase the S-400 missile defence system from Russia by threatening not to sell it the F-35 fighter jets they previously agreed on. Turkey has constantly refused to give in, however, and has sparked fears that it is turning to Russia – NATO’s rival – as a result of an increasingly tense US-Turkey relationship.