Turkish defence firm Baykar is set to begin production of its new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) next year, according to company chairman Selcuk Bayraktar.
Baykar has gained international recognition recently for its TB-2 light drone, which has been exported to Romania, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Kizilelma is expected to increase demand for Baykar’s products even further, though the drone’s specialised capabilities may limit its appeal in some export markets.
The international scope and popularity of the TB2 drone in Africa show promising signs that the Kizilelma drone can repeat its success.
According to GlobalData’s “Turkey Defense Market 2023-2028” report, the Turkish firm Baykar has succeeded in using its TB2 Bayraktar in Ukraine and is now developing the Kizilelma air-to-air combat drone. Turkey’s offerings to the UAV market are emerging as challengers to the existing players in the market.
The craft completed its third round of testing in March and began formation flight tests with Baykar’s other drones this month. Bayraktar says that the drone is ready to start test flights alongside piloted jets, and deployment on Turkey’s amphibious ship is scheduled for next year.
Speaking on the sidelines of an aerospace and technology festival organised by his foundation, Bayraktar described the drone as the culmination of a national aspiration and a product that demonstrates Turkey’s capabilities in the field of military technology.
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There is already a demand for the new drone from abroad, and Baykar plans to begin production in small quantities next year.
Bayraktar says that the drone will help Turkey to establish itself as a significant player in the global defence industry, stating that it is a product “where we tell the world that our country is not only a player but also a game maker.”
As high-profile military projects remain prominently in President Erdogan’s election campaign, the success of Baykar’s new drone could have significant implications for Turkey’s defence industry and its position on the world stage.