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Turkey receives first Akinci drones, its most advanced to date

Akinci UAV
Photo: Turkish defense ministry

Turkish defense company Baykar has delivered the first examples of the Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) to the country’s armed forces in a ceremony on Sunday, August 29.

The delivery ceremony in Tekirdağ was attended by high-ranking military and government officials, including Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to local reports, a total of four Akinci UCAV were delivered, two for army units and two for air force units.

Speaking at the ceremony, president Erdoğan said Turkish unmanned systems technology was in high demand in the world, reminding that an export agreement had been signed with Tunisia for ANKA, another Turkish UAV developed by TAI. Also, Turkey has exported Bayraktar TB2 drones to Ukraine, Qatar and Azerbaijan.

The Akıncı is longer than the Bayraktar TB2 and will support Turkey’s manned F-16 fighter in the air-to-ground attack role. With a wingspan of 20 meters and a “twisted-wing” structure, the system is said to offer high flight safety.

A payload of over 4,000 kilos will allow the drone to carry a broad range of missiles and munitions, including smart micro munitions (MAM-L), developed by Turkish missile specialist Roketsan. Other locally made missiles carried by the UCAV will include the Stand-Off Missile (SOM) air-to-surface cruise missile, which can hit targets at distances of up to 240 kilometers.

Akıncı was delivered after completing its first flight in late 2019. During its maiden flight, the UCAV flew at an altitude of 11,594 meters and stayed in the air for over 25 hours. The UCAV completed its first missile-firing test in April this year.