ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Anka, an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), carried out its debut missionary flight in the eastern province of Elazığ on Feb. 5.
Taking off from Elazığ Airport, Anka (“Phoenix” in English) ascended to an altitude of 19,000 feet to carry out a four-hour exploration and observation flight.
Designed and developed by TAI, a Turkish Armed Forces Foundation company, Anka is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone.
It has initially been deployed in Elazığ due to the current strategic needs of the Turkish General Staff, said Deputy Defense Minister Şuay Alpay at the launch of the Anka’s first flight.
“We are currently doing a very critical thing, struggling against terror,” Alpay said.
“Our struggle will continue with determination until the last terrorist leaves this country and the weapons are taken from [the terrorists]. All elements of the defense industry will support and strengthen this struggle,” he added.
Work on the Anka dates back to December 2004, and in 2013 the Turkish government signed a deal with TAI for an order of 10 Ankas and ground stations.
In 2014, military and defense officials moved ahead with a plan to add satcom capabilities to the Anka, while also bringing together a task force that would design and develop an indigenous engine for the drone.
The Anka’s debut flight was controlled and observed from the ground control center by Turkish Armed Forces Foundation General Manager Orhan Akbaş, TAI Chairman Nejat Bilgin, rocket developer Roketsan Chairman Emin Alpman, and domestic defense firm Havelsan Chairman Yüksel Öztekin.