First Turkish unmanned plane likely to be ready this summer

First Turkish unmanned plane likely to be ready this summer

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
First Turkish unmanned plane likely to be ready this summer

An Anka unmanned plane is seen during a test drive. Turkey aims at becoming the third country to produce such an aircraft. DHA photo

Turkey’s first unmanned ANKA aircraft, which is currently under the testing phase, will be ready for deployment by summer, according to Murat Bayar, undersecretary of the Defense Ministry.

“Five ANKA planes will be in use by this summer,” he told the Anatoila news agency during a recent interview.

The United States and Israel are the only other countries capable of making unmanned aerial vehicles, he said.

Turkey has increased its share of domestic production in its defense industry to more than 50 percent over the last five years, “The share of domestic production in Turkey’s defense industry has risen from 20 percent to 52 percent in the last five years,” adding that the country aimed to reach 70-80 percent in the next few years.

The industry used to meet national demand by manufacturing foreign licensed products, but this has recently changed. “Now we are concentrating on developing our own designs,” said Bayar, adding that Turkey’s total export target was now close to $1 billion. “We reached a total volume of $800 million in defense industry exports last year and I believe we could reach $1 billion this year […] 2012 will be a year of mass production in national defense sector projects.”

Turkey will start to use national warships, national tanks, national infantry rifles, national helicopters and unmanned aircraft in 2012.

Bayar also said a national low-altitude and high-altitude defense system would go into mass production in 2012 and emphasized the importance of sustainability in national defense projects. “We aim to develop the infrastructure base of national tanks, aircraft and weapons.”

Referring to the national rifle, Bayar said the testing phase was still continuing but added that the rifle was expected to go into mass production this year. “It is not an easy task to develop a rifle. We are working with all the contributors to the projects and are hopeful that we will decide on mass production […] We want the rifles in the hands of our soldiers to be made locally,” he said.

He also said the country’s first national tank, the “Altay,” was in the testing phase. The prototype production of Altay is expected to start this year and be used later in the testing process. “We are currently making simulations on the computer and know what type of tank it will be.”

As for the national helicopter project, the “Atak,” Bayar said licenses originally belonging to Italy had been bought by Turkey in order to become the sole producer of the helicopter globally.

“We have made some modifications in line with our desires,” he said, adding that all the electronics to be used in the helicopter would be produced in Turkey. “We aim to deliver one helicopter this year and 51 more next year.”

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