Turkey-based defence company Savunma Teknolojileri ve Mühendislik (STM) has announced the successful completion of Turkish Defence Industry Agency’s (SSB) KERKES project.

Launched in 2019, the project involved upgrading the capability of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) to operate in a global positioning system (GPS)-denied environment.

The KERKES project supports both rotary-wing, including STM’s Kargu drone, and fixed-wing UAVs.

Following the conclusion of KERKES Project, the UAVs will now use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and computer vision techniques to undertake missions during day and at night.

The capability will allow UAVs to operate without being affected by electronic warfare (EW) adversaries, including GPS jammers. 

In a tweet, SSB president Dr Ismail Demir said: “We have successfully completed the KERKES Project, which allows UAV platforms to operate in environments in which there is no GPS coverage.

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“With this technology, which only a few countries are working on, our tactical mini-UAVs will be able to carry out missions without being affected by enemy electronic warfare threats such as GPS jammers.

“This critical capability we have introduced to our country will serve as a deterrent for our army in homeland defence, and will be a game-changing technology in combat environments.”

In order to execute the mission, the UAVs conduct location estimation using navigation-based on object recognition technique and its deep learning capabilities.

The UAV starts the mission with a loaded map, which is later compared with the on-field data. 

According to STM general manager Özgür Güleryüz, the company used its engineering capabilities to integrate this new technology, which can also be adapted for other land and naval platforms.