The Diplomatic Significance of Turkey’s Drone Programme

As Turkish Baykar’s unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) Akıncı completes its maiden flight, countries are lining to purchase its predecessor, the Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2).

Turkey’s drone production has become an integral part of Ankara’s hard power diplomacy, which it has used to expand its sphere of influence across the Middle East and Europe. The rapid growth of the Turkish defence industry was driven by the 1975 US arms embargo against the country which received renewed impetus following Washington’s recent reluctance to make advanced combat drones available to Ankara. This pushed Turkey to develop its own domestic industry. As a result, Ankara is now producing cutting-edge UCAVs among other drone technology. In April this year, the new Baykar combat drone, Akıncı, successfully tested Turkish-made smart micro munitions (MAM). The Chief Technology Officer Baykar Makina, Selçuk Bayraktar, shared the results of the exercise on his Twitter feed, showcasing the prototype aircraft firing accurately with the latest Rokestan munitions: MAM-T, MAM-C and MAM-L. Akıncı is a new addition to the combat drone systems developed by Turkey over the last two decades.

 

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