Unique-Turkey sells battle-tested drones to UAE as regional rivals mend ties

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bayraktar TB2 drone stands close to the brand of Baykar Turkish defence firm inside a corridor of thirtieth worldwide Defence Business Exhibition in Kielce, Poland September 5, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/

By Orhan Coskun

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish defence agency Baykar has delivered 20 armed drones to the United Arab Emirates this month and will promote extra, two Turkish sources stated, as a diplomatic detente between the previous regional rivals expands into army contracts.

Worldwide demand for Baykar’s drones soared after their affect on conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Libya, the place their laser-guided armour-piercing bombs helped repel an offensive by UAE-supported forces two years in the past.

That civil warfare in Libya was certainly one of a number of theatres the place the 2 nations performed out a bitter, decade-long battle for affect within the Center East, till a reconciliation final 12 months.

Now the United Arab Emirates and its ally Saudi Arabia are hoping to leverage their rapprochement with Turkey to counter a rising safety problem from Iran and its proxy forces, army sources say.

Each Gulf Arab oil states have confronted drone assaults on cities and oil amenities that they blamed on Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen.

A supply with information of the talks stated Abu Dhabi and Riyadh had been negotiating to amass Bayraktar TB2 drones from Ankara. “They determined throughout the negotiations with the UAE to rapidly ship 20 armed drones,” the supply stated, including they had been transferred earlier this month.

A senior Turkish official confirmed Turkey has delivered some drones to the United Arab Emirates and that the UAE was searching for extra. Saudi Arabia additionally wished to purchase armed drones and to arrange a manufacturing facility to fabricate them, the official stated.

The official stated Baykar was contemplating the Saudi request for a producing plant however stated that was a strategic determination for President Tayyip Erdogan and that different points, resembling Saudi investments in Turkey, “aren’t shifting as quick as attainable”.

Baykar, the UAE international ministry and Saudi Arabia’s authorities communications workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark. Turkey’s Defence Ministry referred inquiries to the state’s defence industries group, which declined to remark.


For Erdogan, who faces a tough election subsequent 12 months with inflation rampant and the Turkish lira tumbling, the prospect of Gulf funding flows and international forex assist has been a chief goal of the political reconciliation, analysts say.

The corporate’s solely different manufacturing amenities exterior Turkey are being in-built Ukraine, the place Bayraktar TB2s helped undermine Russia’s overwhelming army superiority within the weeks following Moscow’s February invasion.

Baykar’s battlefield successes have helped it spearhead Turkey’s profitable army exports drive. CEO Haluk Bayraktar, who runs the corporate along with his brother Selcuk – President Erdogan’s son-in-law – stated final month Baykar had signed export contracts for the TB2 with 22 nations.

It presently produces 20 Bayraktar TB2 drones a month, he instructed a Ukrainian army providers basis in August, and its order e-book for these drones and different fashions was full for the subsequent three years.

“There are requests for armed drones from many nations and areas,” the senior Turkish official stated. “Some nations which have purchased them are making extra calls for. They’re very happy with the outcomes… however it’s technically not attainable to fulfill all demand.”

Whereas Turkish drones can’t match the know-how of the fashions produced by market leaders Israel and america, they’re cheaper and include fewer export restrictions. In addition they carry out higher than Chinese language or Iranian drones, which Russia has deployed in Ukraine, a Western army supply stated.

The Iranian drones, Shahed and Muhajir, “have among the traits of, however not the real-time processing and accuracy” of the TB2s, the supply stated.

    “The Saudis and the UAE wish to dismantle the effectiveness of the Iranian drones. In the event that they get the TB2 they are going to be capable to … cease the circulation of Iranian drones.”

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