Turkey has become one of the world’s leading drone producers and is now targeting the production of up to four tons of drones in weight, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü has told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Our aim is to produce 3.5-4 tons of armed drones in weight and to equip them with high quality weapons and cameras,” Özlü said.
Noting that drones, which are also dubbed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are categorized as mini, medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) and strategic tactical according to their weight, volume and ranges, Özlü said that mini and tactical drones were mainly produced by private enterprises in Turkey, and included in the inventory.
“Turkey’s MALE type drone, named Anka [Phoenix], was designed by Turkish Aerospace Industries [TAI]. This drone will be controlled from satellites in the near future. The drone’s range will be extended to how long the TURKSAT satellite’s scope is. Thus, the Anka drones will be online within the TURKSAT satellite’s range,” he said, adding that the related deal was already signed and that production was now in process.
Özlü noted that Turkey was good at making armed drones.
“These drones are, for instance, now used to complement our support to the Free Syrian Army [FSA]. These tactical drones weigh around 560-600 kg with a small weapons system on them. We want to produce 3.5-4 tons of armed drones, which are equipped with weapons and higher quality cameras,” he added.
Meanwhile, Anka carried out its debut mission flight in the eastern province of Elazığ on Feb. 5. Taking off from Elazığ Airport, Anka ascended to an altitude of 19,000 feet to carry out a four-hour exploration and observation flight.
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.
Developments in SOMs
Özlü also noted that defense research and development institute TÜBİTAK-SAGE had already developed the Stand-off Missile, dubbed SOM, and this product was now in the inventory.
“This is a product of success, which has a range up to 300 km. SAGE has now been working on shrinking the size of these missiles in a bid to integrate them into the F-35s. Turkey’s Roketsan will undertake the production process,” he noted.
Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed an agreement in 2014 on the design, production and marketing of the SOM.