PM’s coveted drones, already at İncirlik base
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Pre-flight checks on the Predator (UAV) is performed in Nevada in this file photo. REUTERS photo
Four United States Predators, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), arrived in Turkey in October, although their areas of use were not yet determined, a military official said Nov. 9.
The transfer of U.S. military equipment was part of a list of demands Turkey conveyed to the U.S. when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited New York in September and held talks with President Barack Obama. During the G-20 summit, Erdoğan reminded Obama of his pledge to send Predators to Turkey to use against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq.
However, a military official, who wanted his name to remain anonymous, told Turkish daily Taraf that the Pentagon had sent two Predators to İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey on Oct. 16. Two more MQ-1 Predators were sent to İncirlik Air Base on Oct. 23, the official said.
Four predators are connected to the radar system and ready to fly. Their flight will be controlled remotely from a Nevada base, and the images received will be processed in the U.S. and sent to the Turkish military. The real-time images taken by the Predators will not be delivered to Turkish authorities; photos will only be sent after being processed and filtered by U.S. authorities, the daily reported Nov. 11.
Predators can fly at a speed of 180 to 200 kph at an altitude of around 4,500 meters and can endure 24 hours without refueling. The Predators are expected to leave İncirlik base and fly over Iraq and return to Turkey. Predators are not detectable by radars, including Turkish radars, said the daily.