Home Air Turkey gifts Bayraktar drone Lithuanians crowdsourced for Ukraine

Turkey gifts Bayraktar drone Lithuanians crowdsourced for Ukraine

Lithuanian, Turkish officials next to a Bayraktar TB2 for Ukraine
Photo: Baykar

After Lithuanian citizens raised six million euros for the purchase of a Bayraktar TB2 armed drone for Ukraine, Turkey decided to supply the weapon free of charge.

The Lithuanian defense ministry was the first to reveal that the necessary funds were raised by Lithuanians in three days, sharing a photo of its officials standing next to an assembled Bayraktar TB2.

Baykar, the Turkish company that developed the unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), later said it would gift a Bayraktar TB2 to Lithuania free of charge, asking for those funds go to Ukraine for humanitarian aid.

The project to crowdsource a Bayraktar for Ukraine was led by journalist Andrius Tapinas, who provided more details on the transfer.

“Lithuania shall pay 1.5 million euro to arm it with best ammunition,” Tapinas said. “The rest of money – 4.4 million euro – according to the deal – will go to humanitarian, defensive or rebuilding projects for Ukraine.”

“Excellent initiatives don’t go unnoticed. We took the trip to Turkey to arrange the terms and conditions and transfer procedures, while they presented to us the best surprise possible. Turkey was enthralled by the big initiative of our small country and we are deeply grateful to Turkey. Now Ukraine will get the combat drone and humanitarian assistance on top,” vice minister of Lithuania’s national defense V. Semeška said.

Lithuania’s defense ministry said the two sides agreed during the meetings on June 1-2 that Turkey would supply the Bayraktar TB2 in the latest configuration with optical and other standard equipment. The manufacturer has committed to get the drone ready in the coming weeks.

The Lithuanian Air Force will then bring the tactical unmanned aerial vehicle to Lithuania and it will be transferred to the armed forces of Ukraine.

The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV (MALE UAV) capable of conducting surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks and combat missions using guided missiles carried on four pylons under the wings.

The UCAV has so far proven to be effective since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year, scoring numerous kills against various high-profile Russian assets.