March/13/2012 Ümit Enginsoy
In an effort to boost defense industry exports to Islamic states, Turkey has recently sold 10 mini drones to Qatar, a senior procurement official said Sunday.
The small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) were exported under a general agreement made during the International Defense Fair (IDEF), which convened in Istanbul May 2011, for the sale of Turkish defense goods to Qatar worth $120 million within a year.
This $25 million sale will become the first export of SUAVs by Turkey, and they will also be the first drones in Qatar’s inventory. The SUAVs, called “Bayraktar,” are made by Baykar Makina, which also produces the “Malazgirt” mini helicopter and the tactical “Çaldıran” unmanned aerial vehicle.
Turkey, which sold defense goods worth over $1 billion abroad in 2011, has recently attempted to bolster defense exports to Islamic countries.
In a separate development, the first drone to have been built entirely domestically by Turkey, the Anka, will compete in an international tender held by Colombia, even before entering service in Turkey, another senior procurement official said.
The Anka, Turkey’s first locally-made drone in the medium-altitude and long-endurance category, was successful in last year’s flight tests.
After crash landing in its first two attempts, the Anka successfully flew in the final two trials.