A new iron colossus covers the sky of the air military sector, the Turkish Akinci attack drone, destined to mark a before and after in the war history of the Middle East.
Mastery of the sky: Bayraktar TB2 and Turkish supremacy in the drone industry
Turkish steel takes flight into an unprecedented future, marked by Saudi Arabia’s historic order for the advanced Akinci drone. This contract hailed as the “biggest ever,” is living testimony to the reputation enjoyed by the Bayraktar TB2 drone on a global scale.
This historic defense pact was formally sealed on July 18, handing Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan an emblematic victory. An agreement was born directly from his diplomatic efforts to strengthen ties with the Gulf nations and Ankara’s economy.
The ratification ceremony was attended by leading figures, including Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and representatives of Baykar, the Turkish defense company, as well as the Saudi Ministry of Defense. This unprecedented deal was the lynchpin of Erdogan’s diplomatic tour of the Gulf region, which began on July 17.
Raider, the quintessence of aerial military technology
The Akinci, aptly named “Raider” in Turkish, is a high-altitude, long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV] equipped for air-to-ground and air-to-air combat missions.
Eager and full of anticipation, Baykar let her jubilation show through a celebratory tweet from her CEO, Haluk Bayraktar. He called the deal with Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry the “largest aviation defense and export contract” in history.
Baykar’s statement highlighted the deal’s technology transfer and joint production aspects, highlighting its potential to enhance the technological capabilities of both nations.
Beyond TB2: Akinci, the new jewel in the Turkish crown
Bayraktar revealed to Turkish media that another “huge” deal to purchase smart munitions and other payloads from Turkey is underway and that it will involve local production.
Beyond his role as CEO, Bayraktar also has a family connection to the company, as President Erdogan’s son-in-law, Selcuk Bayraktar, serves as chairman. Baykar has recently gained worldwide recognition for its combat-proven weaponized drones, notably the Bayraktar TB2, which has proven its worth in Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
The Turkish drone industry has seen a significant increase in technological progress and manufacturing capabilities in recent years. According to Baykar’s records, the company’s exports amounted to $1.18 billion, and it generated revenue of $1.4 billion last year.
Akinci, the champion of drone technology
The recent contract is a significant achievement for Turkey, especially considering President Erdogan’s promise in August 2021 to establish Turkey as a global leader in drone technology by bringing the first Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle [UCAV] into service.
The growing tension between Russia and Ukraine underscores the increasingly critical role of drone warfare in modern combat. This is not lost on Saudi Arabia, a nation inhabiting an unstable region.
Emerging as a pioneer in cutting-edge drone technology, Turkey has been showcasing its combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV] globally. With the triumph of TB2, the focus has now shifted to the most formidable and battle-ready drone, Akinci.
The Giant of the Skies: Unraveling Akinci’s Capabilities
The Akinci, a military-grade drone, boasts impressive dimensions, with a length of 12.2 meters, a height of 4.1 meters, and a wingspan of 20 meters. It has a takeoff weight of 5,500 kilograms and can carry a maximum payload of 1,350 kilograms, climbing to an altitude of 40,000 feet [12,192 meters].
The Akinci surpasses its predecessor, the Bayraktar TB2, in terms of combat load capacity. Military experts suggest that this increase could allow Akinci to deploy more powerful weapons and versatile operational strategies. The drone has already exceeded expectations in terms of performance.
In a historic achievement, last year, Akinci successfully launched Turkey’s first supersonic air-to-surface missile, the TRG-230, hitting a target more than 100 kilometers [62 miles] away. This has made the Akinci the only UAV capable of launching a supersonic air-to-ground ballistic missile.
Akinci: redefining modern warfare with advanced technology
Shortly after this feat, the drone underwent a test firing with a next-generation guidance kit.
The Akinci accurately dropped a 1,000-pound [455-kilogram] MK-83 bomb equipped with the Gökçe guidance system on its assigned target.
Since then, the Akinci has participated in tests with an Aselsan laser guidance kit, hitting the target with unsurpassed accuracy. The laser guidance system was used in conjunction with an Aselsan-made MK-82 bomb during this test.
The Akinci, developed by the Turkish drone industry, is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for air and ground combat missions. This military-grade drone has impressive dimensions, with a length of 12.2 meters, a height of 4.1 meters, and a wingspan of 20 meters. The Akinci can take off with a weight of 5,500 kilograms and carry a maximum payload of 1,350 kilograms, climbing up to 40,000 feet (12,192 meters). The drone has demonstrated its ability to deploy powerful weapons and versatile operational strategies, including launching Turkey’s first supersonic air-to-ground missile, the TRG-230.
The Akinci surpasses its predecessor, the Bayraktar TB2, in terms of combat load capacity. Military experts suggest that this increased capability could allow Akinci to deploy more powerful weapons and versatile operational strategies. In addition, the Akinci has shown superior performance in terms of accuracy and the ability to perform complex missions.
Saudi Arabia’s purchase of drones marks an important milestone in the history of Turkey’s drone industry, as it represents the “largest aviation defense and export contract” in Turkish history. This represents a significant boost to the Turkish economy and further strengthens its position as a global leader in drone technology.
The Akinci, being a high-performance combat drone, plays a crucial role in modern warfare. Its ability to launch precise attacks from a long distance offers a significant tactical advantage. In the context of the Gulf region, this capability can be essential to manage situations of instability and potentially act as a deterrent in the region.
Turkish drones, particularly the Akinci, have the potential to act as a “mothership” for drone swarm attacks. These operations involve the deployment of multiple small drones to carry out a variety of tasks, from reconnaissance to airstrikes, which can significantly increase effectiveness and efficiency on the modern battlefield.