Turkish drone powerhouse Baykar to complete Ukraine plant in 2 years - M5 Dergi
Defence NewsÖne Çıkan

Turkish drone powerhouse Baykar to complete Ukraine plant in 2 years

Abone Ol 

The Turkish defense company behind the drones, which earned fame for their critical role in several conflicts, is planning to complete the construction of its manufacturing plant in Ukraine in two years, according to its chief executive.

Baykar became highly renowned for the success of its Bayraktar TB2 armed drones in conflicts in Syria, Libya, Karabakh and lastly in Ukraine, where the platforms proved to be instrumental in the country’s defense against armor and anti-aircraft systems in the first few weeks of the Russian invasion.

The Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) gained so much prominence with the public that Ukrainians composed a song about it and some allies launched unprecedented crowdfunded campaigns to buy more.

As part of an agreement between Türkiye and Ukraine, signed just before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Baykar had agreed to build its second manufacturing plant in Ukraine.

CEO Haluk Bayraktar told Reuters on Thursday that plans were moving ahead despite some obstacles created by Russia’s invasion. “Our plan is moving ahead,” the CEO said on the sidelines of the SAHA defense expo in Istanbul.

“Right now we have architectural design. The detailed design phase is finished. And we will move ahead with construction actually … within two years we would like to finish it.”

Ukraine figures prominently in Baykar’s supply chain, especially with the new heavy-lifter drone Akıncı and unmanned fighter jet called Kızılelma, currently under development. Both use Ukrainian engines from Motor Sich and from Ivchenko-Progress.

Expanding orders

Deployment of the company’s Bayraktar TB2 drone has been a major factor influencing conflicts from Syria to Karabakh and Ukraine, pushing Baykar into the global spotlight and transforming it into a major manufacturer and exporter.

The battle-proven TB2 drone is being sold to 24 countries including NATO member Poland, while the company signed deals with five countries for exports of its much larger sibling Akıncı.

While the TB2 can lift off with up to 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of missiles or equipment, Akıncı, first delivered to Turkish armed forces last year, can fly much higher and take off with 10 times the weight.

The expanding order book is expected to net around $1 billion in export revenues this year, Bayraktar said, about 50% higher than last year’s $650 million, with a further 50% growth expected in 2023.

Though Baykar is not the only military drone developer in Türkiye, the TB2 has figured so prominently in conflicts that it now spearheads the country’s global defense export push.

Founded in the 1980s by Bayraktar’s father, Özdemir Bayraktar, Baykar began to focus on unmanned aircraft in 2005 as Türkiye sought to strengthen its local defense industry.

Last year, the company made up a fifth of Türkiye’s $3.2 billion in defense exports, according to data from the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM).

The company will invest the revenues for the expansion of production lines, Bayraktar said. “Our production capacity with TB2, we do 20 units per month. For 2023 our target is to do minimum 30 (units) a month,” he said.

Baykar currently has a capacity to manufacture over 200 Bayraktar TB2s a year, he said earlier. It seeks to raise this figure to 500 for TB2s and reach a level where it produces 40 Akıncı drones a year.

Space technologies

Research and development on the fast drone fighter jet Kızılelma, which analysts say represents a significant expansion of capabilities for slow-moving reconnaissance and missile-carrying drones, will pick up as well, Bayraktar said.

Kızılelmawill be capable of taking off from and landing on short-runway aircraft carriers, with a maiden flight expected in the next few months.

The TB3, a short-runway-capable version of the TB2, is expected to finish its testing phase by the end of 2023, Bayraktar said.

The company is also expanding its focus to space technologies to complement its unmanned vehicle system. “We are now investing in space technologies … Not well established segments, but new areas where you can bring new innovative solutions,” Bayraktar said.

Baykar is also investing in some companies in its expanding supply chain. “We invest in companies which bring value added items to our systems … in the field of communications, optics, network architecture,” Bayraktar said.

Abone Ol 

Related Articles

Abone Ol 
Back to top button