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Egypt eyes to buy Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 9/19/2011 12:00:00 AM | İPEK YEZDANİ - ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr

According to an executive at Turkish Aerospace Industries, the new Egyptian government is interested in buying Turkey-made unmanned planes. Some Middle East countries prefer Turkey rather than Israel or the US, defense experts say. Turkey will also sell six multi-role tactical platform naval vessels to the North African country

Egypt is interested in buying made-in-Turkey unmanned aerial vehicles called Anka from a Turkish defense company, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Egyptian and Turkish authorities talked about a possible future agreement to sell made-in-Turkey unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to Egypt during the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Egypt last week.

[HH]Regional demand

“Many countries in the Middle East, ranging from North African countries to Saudi Arabia, are interested in the Anka Male [medium altitude, long endurance] unmanned aerial vehicle system that we produce,” the Vice President of Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI’s, Integrated Aircraft Systems Özcan Ertem told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Monday.

Ertem said a large number of countries – especially in the Middle East – have been closely following the developments in the production of UAVs in Turkey. “I believe once the airworthiness and qualification testing period is over, there will be a high potential market for us to export our Ankas,” he said. “But we can only sell to countries that our government considers appropriate.”

The production process of the first series of UAVs is over now, and Anka has already started its flight test campaign, according to Ertem. The testing period with electro-optic sensors is expected to be concluded in the spring.

[HH]High capacity

Compared to the U.S.-made Predator and the Israel-made Heron, the Anka is a larger UAV and has the capacity to carry heavier loads, Ertem said. “The Anka has the capacity to carry up to 500 kilograms of sensors and fuel. Besides, different than our competitors, we have chosen a special engine system that runs on jet fuel, because it is available at every air base.”

There are three countries in the world that produce similar UAVs: Israel, the U.S. and Turkey. There are almost 15 countries interested in buying Turkey’s version of the UAV, and because of political reasons, some countries in the Middle East prefer Turkey rather than Israel or the U.S., defense experts say.

Turkey will also sell six multi-role tactical platform, or MRTP-20, naval vessels to Egypt, the Daily News has learned.

A contract on the procurement and manufacturing of six Onuk MRTP-20 fast-intervention crafts has been signed between Egypt’s Ministry of Defense and Yonca-Onuk JV – a Turkish company that specializes in commercial and naval craft manufacturing, according to the latter’s director for strategic planning, Armağan Ortaç.

Three boats will be constructed in Istanbul and the others in Egypt’s Alexandria shipyard with technology transfer. Moreover, Yonca-Onuk JV will provide all the material kits to be used during the construction in Alexandria.

The project will be completed 31.5 after the contract comes into effect. Harbor acceptance and sea acceptance tests have been completed for the first boat, which will be shipped to Egypt by the end of the month.

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