Turkish Baykar to establish drone MRO facility in Ukraine

Baykar's General Manager Haluk Bayraktar (L), Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (C) and Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran after signing a memorandum to establish joint training and maintenance centers for Turkish armed drones, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sept. 29, 2021. (AA Photo)

The Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar will be establishing joint training and maintenance centers for Turkish armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Ukraine, a statement on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s website said.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. This is an important event for us,” Zelenskyy said after the signing of the memorandum with Baykar on Wednesday.

The memorandum was a step toward joint Ukrainian-Turkish production of the drones, the statement said.

Ukraine has previously bought the landmark drones from Baykar to bolster its armed forces in their fight against Russian-backed separatists in the war in the eastern Donbass region.

Kyiv plans to procure 24 more Bayraktar TB2s in the coming period, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Valeriy Zaluzhny, who very recently assumed the role, said earlier this month.

Baykar has also sold its armed drones to Qatar, Azerbaijan and Poland. In May, Poland became the first European Union and NATO member state to acquire UAVs from Turkey.

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Interest remains high. Saudi Arabia is also said to have been interested in buying Turkish drones. Latvia also hinted that it could be the second European Union and NATO member state to acquire the UAVs. Albania is also interested in striking a deal to procure Bayraktar TB2s.

The Bayraktar TB2 earned worldwide fame following its deployment in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan, paving the way for more export deals.

The drones had devastated Bashar Assad regime ground forces during clashes in Idlib province in February-March 2020.

They also gave decisive air support to Turkey’s ally in Libya and successfully guided airstrikes that assassinated senior leaders of the PKK terrorist group over the last two years.

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