UK interested in buying Turkish Akinci drone

Turkey has presented options to the United Kingdom, which is “very interested” to buy Turkish-made armed drones, the industry and technology minister said on Friday.

“The U.K. is very interested in Turkish armed drones. Now, they have to decide. We presented them with the options. Right now, they’re seriously considering these options,” Mustafa Varank told CNN Turk in an exclusive interview.

“I believe that in the very near future, we’ll see Bayraktar and Ankinci (unmanned aerial vehicles) purchased from Turkey flying in European skies, as well,” Varank had said earlier this year during an event jointly organized by the Istanbul Defense and Aerospace Cluster Association and Istanbul Chamber of Industry on Jan. 21.

He also noted that in a previous speech, U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace had said Turkish UAVs were a “game-changer.”

Turkey’s defense and aviation revenue has reached $12 billion annually, Varank said, adding that its defense exports had risen from $340 million in 2005 to $3 billion last year.

The growing interest in domestic drones is a boost for the Turkish government as it tries to increase exports and underline the growing importance of armed drones in modern warfare.

The Turkish military used drones last year in Syria as well as in Libya where Ankara backed the Tripoli-based government against eastern forces supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.

In Nagorno-Karabakh, the drones helped Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan defeat Armenia-backed occupying forces.

Overall Turkish defense and aviation exports totaled $2.1 billion in the first three quarters of this year, up 39% from $1.5 billion last year, according to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM).

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