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Latvia to become second NATO member to buy Bayraktar TB2 armed drones

According to Daily Sabah, Latvia has indicated it could be the second European Union and NATO member state to acquire Turkish armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that have scored high-profile successes in the field, following last month's purchase by Poland.

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Latvia to become second NATO member to buy Bayraktar TB2 armed drones 1 Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones (Picture source: Anadolu Agency)

A delegation led by Latvia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks arrived in Turkey on June 7 to discuss further cooperation in defense and the development of their military industry. The delegation paid a visit to Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar Makina’s research and development (R&D) and production facilities in the capital, Ankara. “Turkish industry has the highest world standards in research and development, and we value that very much as an ally in NATO,” Pabriks said, replying to a tweet by Baykar that included a photo of the officials standing in front of the Bayraktar TB2 combat drone.

So far, Turkish defense technology company Baykar has sold its Bayraktar TB2 armed drone to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Qatar, and Libya. Erdogan said in March that Saudi Arabia was also interested in buying Turkish drones.

Latvia to become second NATO member to buy Bayraktar TB2 armed drones 2

Latvian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (Left) and Baykar Makina's General Manager Haluk Bayraktar at Baykar Makina's R&D and production facilities at Ankara on June 7, 2021. (Picture source: Baykar via AA)

The Bayraktar Tactical UAS is a surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aircraft system (UAS) initially developed for the Turkish Armed Forces. It is developed by the Kale-Baykar, a joint venture between the Kale Group and Baykar Technologies.

The Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System, developed in accordance with the concept of the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class UAV, is equipped with national and original fully automatic flight control features, a three backup flight control system architecture, and unique navigational and sensor fusion applications and is one of the reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles being developed at an advanced technological level.

The Bayraktar UAV System has a cruising speed of 70 knots with an operational flight altitude of 24.000 feet, 24 hours of flight time, and a communication range of 150 km and has a 12-m wingspan, 650-kg maximum take-off weight, and 55-kg payload capacity.

The Bayraktar TB2 is used operationally by the Turkish Armed Forces and is able to employ MAM and MAM-L ammunitions and UMTAS missiles.