Daily Sabah
May 22, 2022

Turkish combat drone Akıncı reaches Azerbaijan in unseen flight

In a new milestone, Turkey’s most advanced and sophisticated drone has conducted an unprecedented flight that saw it departing from northwestern Turkey and landing in Azerbaijan.

The Akıncı unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) will be put on display at Teknofest in Azerbaijan this week, marking the first edition abroad for one of the world’s biggest aviation, space and technology festivals.

Two Akıncı drones took off from northwestern Tekirdağ’s Çorlu district on Saturday, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon hours, and traveled through Turkey and Georgia before they landed at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, the developer, Baykar, said.

Covering a distance of around 2,000 kilometers, the UCAVs thus completed a five-hour flight as they traveled through three countries, a first in Turkish aviation history.

***

Marking the most advanced and sophisticated drone built by the country, Akıncı was first delivered to the Turkish security forces in late August last year.

The UCAV joined the company’s Bayraktar TB2, which has been widely used and sold to various countries, including Ukraine, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Poland.

Six Akıncı drones have entered the inventory so far and have been actively used by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). They had joined their first major operation ever last month as Turkey launched a military offensive against the PKK…targets in northern Iraq.

Akıncı is longer and wider than the Bayraktar TB2 and can perform strategic tasks…..

It can carry various weaponry, including a range of missiles such as Smart Micro Munitions (MAM-L) developed by prominent Turkish contractor Roketsan. It can be equipped with the locally produced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and air-to-air missiles Gökdoğan (Merlin) and Bozdoğan (Peregrine).

It is also able to launch several other types of locally made munitions, such as the Roketsan-built Stand-Off Missile (SOM), a long-range air-to-surface cruise missile that can hit targets up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) away.

Baykar says the Akıncı can attack targets both in the air and on the ground. It can also operate alongside fighter jets and fly higher and stay in the air longer than Turkey’s existing drones.

Akıncı, late last month, conducted the first live firing at a sea target in a test that saw it hit an aim using a TEBER MK-82 guidance kit. It was said to have hit the target after a Bayraktar TB2 performed the laser designation on the target. Akıncı reportedly dropped an MK-82 bomb from an altitude of 20,000 feet onto a floating target.

Bayraktar TB2 earned worldwide fame following its deployment in conflicts in Syria, Libya and Karabakh, previously referred to as Nagorno-Karabakh. It has been sold to nearly 20 countries so far, with many other nations expressing interest in buying the drone.

Its upgraded version is expected to perform its maiden flight this year. Currently, under development at the Baykar facilities, the Bayraktar TB3 will be able to take off and land at Turkey’s flagship-to-be amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu.