Turkey and Ukraine to jointly produce Turkish TAI Anka combat drones

According to Daily Sabah, Turkish Aerospace Industries ‘’Anka’’ medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV)-type combat drones will be built in the new Ukrainian-Turkish plant being established in Ukraine, according to several news sites.

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Turkey and Ukraine to jointly produce Turkish TAI Anka combat drones

Anka-Aksungur MALE UCAV (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Russia-based Izvestia newspaper reported the news, citing remarks made on December 11 by Alexei Arestovich, an external adviser of the Ukrainian president's office. He was cited as saying that the combat drones will be effective against air targets, including other drones and even manned aircraft. The drones will be equipped with Ukrainian engines and Turkish avionics, Arestovich was said to have told Ukraine’s Radio Svoboda. The first batch of UCAVs are expected to be produced by the plant by the end of 2023, Arestovich added. On December 6, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the construction of a plant for the production of modern military drones had begun.

Envisioned in the early 2000s for aerial surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Anka has evolved into a modular platform with synthetic aperture radar, precise weapons, and satellite communication. The basic version, Anka-A, was classified as a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle for reconnaissance missions. Introduced in 2010, Anka granted its first contract in 2013 from the Turkish Air Force. The Force requested further studies in advanced uninterrupted intelligence, reconnaissance, and communication technologies. The aircraft was set to a long development phase to introduce a national mission computer, national flight control system, synthetic aperture radar, indigenous engine, and friend or foe identification system. Anka-B made its first flight in 2014 and completed factory tests in 2015. In 2017, Turkish Aerospace Industries introduced Anka-S and the aircraft entered service with the Turkish Air Force.

Turkish Aerospace Industries offers the aircraft in two versions: Anka-B and Anka-S. Anka-I was developed specifically for Turkey's National Intelligence Organization for signal intelligence. Anka has accumulated more than 90,000 flight hours as of March 2021. The drone is named after Phoenix, a mythological creature called Zümrüd-ü Anka in Turkish.

Earlier, on Nov. 12, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that his country would purchase a new batch of Bayraktar TB2 combat drones from Turkey which are already in the inventory of the Ukrainian armed forces and have been combat-tested. On Sept. 29, the Bayraktar TB2 UCAV’s manufacturer, Baykar signed an agreement for the construction of the plant in the Kyiv region, where personnel will be trained and the Turkish drones will be maintained and tested. The memorandum was a step toward joint Ukrainian-Turkish production of the drones, according to earlier statements by Zelenskyy’s office.