Turkey has joined the ranks of the world’s elite drone manufacturer with heavy investment in the technology after its exclusion from the U.S. F-35 fighter jet programme, National Interest said.
Turkey has recently delivered six armed drones to Ukraine while Tunisia ordered six armed drones from Turkey pending delivery of drones to Tunisia.
While the country might never develop its own stealth fighter, “Turkey has become a major user, and seller, of an entirely different class of warplane: Armed drones,” National Interest said.
The United States suspended Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme in July over its purchase of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia, which U.S. and NATO officials consider a potential threat to the alliance’s security.
Turkey has made impressive progress in developing its drone capability in the last decade. Before then, the country only possessed unarmed U.S.-made General Atomic Gnat 750 reconnaissance drones and Israeli-made IAI Heron drones. Now Ankara fields a formidable fleet of indigenously made drones of various types.
“The Turkish military operates around 130 armed drones of several types, including five versions of the Anka plus the Karayel and the Bayraktar TB2,” National Interest said.
During Turkey’s military intervention in Syria’s Idlib province in February and March 2020, drones made by Turkey’s indigenous armament industry proved capable of destroying Syrian government targets.
The drones reportedly also took out multiple Russian-made, Syrian-operated air-defense system, tanks and armoured vehicles.
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