Battle-tested Turkish combat drones seem to have gotten yet another customer as Slovakia has expressed interest and signaled it could become the second European Union member state to acquire Bayraktar TB2s.
The intention was reaffirmed by Slovakia’s Defense Minister Jaro Nad who on Wednesday said talks on acquiring unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) for the country’s armed forces were moving forward.
“Works on acquiring drones for the Slovak military (are) moving forward,” Nad said in a tweet after meeting with Haluk Bayraktar, the CEO of the Turkish drone magnate, Baykar.
“Good talk today with Mr Bayraktar from Turkey, and discussions with other drone producers (are) ongoing,” he said in the tweet featuring a model of the Bayraktar TB2 UCAV with Slovak markings.
The battle-tested drones have already proven their capabilities in Libya, Syria and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Turkey has also sold Kyiv several batches of Bayraktar TB2s.
The TB2 has also been used by Qatar, Azerbaijan and Poland, which in May last year became the first European Union and NATO member state to acquire drones from Turkey. Many other nations have also hinted at buying the UAVs.
Baykar has signed export deals with at least 19 countries, including a joint production deal with Ukraine, as its products help reshape the way modern wars are fought.
Ukraine was the first country to purchase the drones in 2019 and has ordered at least 36 drones so far, according to Selçuk Bayraktar, the chief technology officer at Baykar.
Serbia over the weekend reiterated its intention to acquire the TB2s as its president, Aleksandar Vucic, vowed to further strengthen the country’s defenses, amid tensions in the Balkans and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He said he had asked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week to supply Serbia with the drones and that the Turkish leader “promised me that we can get them.”
The Bayraktar TB2 – with its electronics, software, aerodynamics, design and submain systems fully designed and developed nationally – stands out among the world’s most advanced UAV systems in its class with its flight automation and performance.
It has a record altitude of 27,030 feet for over 24 hours in the air and can carry 150 kilograms (over 330 pounds) of payload. It can operate during the day and at night.
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