Turkey delivers first Bayraktar TB2 UCAV to Ukrainian Navy

The Ukrainian Navy has accepted delivery of the first Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkish defense company Baykar, according to Ukraine’s Defence Ministry.

The ministry announced the delivery on July 15 through its official Twitter account. After completing acceptance tests, the drone, along with mobile control terminals and spare parts, will be deployed at the Ukrainian Navy’s 10th Naval Aviation Brigade in Mykolaiv.

Baykar announced in 2019 that it won a $69 million contract to sell six TB2 combat UAVs to Ukraine. Turkish officials at the time said the deal included ammunition for the armed drones.

The Ukrainian Navy’s chief of staff, Oleksiy Neizhpapa, previously said the combat UAVs are expected to be delivered by the end of 2021. “This year, the Navy will receive the first set of the Bayraktar unmanned complex, which surface forces and marines will use both in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov,” Neizhpapa said May 12 during the All-Ukrainian Forum “Ukraine 30.″

In October 2020, Turkey and Ukraine signed an agreement under which the former would build corvettes and drones for the latter, while Ukraine would provide gas turbines to Turkey. In a July 4 speech celebrating Ukraine’s Navy Day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Turkey has begun construction of the first Ada-class corvette for the service and plans to deliver it by 2023.

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Turkish Aerospace Industries also signed a contract with Ukrainian defense firm Motor Sich to supply engines for Turkey’s T929 Atak 2 helicopters. The helicopter program has been riddled with delays due to export license problems.

In addition, there are plans to equip Turkey’s I-class frigates with Ukrainian-made gas turbine engines. Turkey wanted to equip the frigates with General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, but the plan was scrapped due to U.S. sanctions. Now Turkey is to equip the warships with gas turbines manufactured by Ukraine’s Zorya-Mashproekt.

Mehmet Cem Demirci, a political analyst based in Turkey said that new leadership in the United States is helping to drive Turkey-Ukraine relations. Both the U.S. and Turkey are NATO allies, and Ukraine has expressed interest in joining the coalition.

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