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June 22, 2021

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Why do countries prefer Turkish drones?

5 min read
Smaller militaries around the world are deploying inexpensive missile-equipped drones against armored enemies, a new battlefield tactic that proved successful last year in regional conflicts, shifting the strategic balance around Turkey and Russia.

Image by Aero360 FB

Turkey and Poland have signed a deal for thesale of Turkish-made combat drones, making Poland the primary NATO and European Union member country to get Turkey’s TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles, Turkish President Erdogan said.The agreement was signed during Polish PresidentAndrzej Duda’s three-day visit to Turkey.

Under the deal, Poland is about to receive 24armed drones, communication system stations, and data terminals.The first drone is predicted to be delivered next year.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczaktold the TB2 drones “have proven themselves in wars”and added that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would be serviced by a military company,without giving further details.Additionally, Erdogan said,

“We are one ofthe best countries regarding unmanned aerial vehicles.We feel great pleasure in sharing our experience,capability, and potential with our NATO ally Poland.With the document that was just signed,

Turkey will, for the primary time in its history,be exporting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to a countrythat may be a member of NATO and therefore the EU.

“Authorities in fellow NATO member Turkey saythe country has become the world’s fourth-largestdrone producer since they increased domesticproduction to scale back reliance on Western arms.

Turkish defense technology company has soldits TB2 armed drone to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Qatar, and Libya.Erdogan said that Saudi Arabia was also interestedin buying Turkish drones in March 2021.

On the opposite side, Serbian President AleksandarVucic told media last year that his countryis curious about buying Turkish armed drones.“We are considering buying Turkish dronesand we’ll see if we will reach an agreementwith the Turkish manufacturer,” Vucic said.Over the previous couple of years, the 2 countrieshave gotten closer despite having their differences.

The two countries are that specialize in tradeand economic cooperation along side the pledgeto work together on the defense front also.The well-known political analyst Francis Fukuyamareviewed the drone technology in one among his articles.

Turkish drones just like the Anka-S were developedby the Turkish aerospace industries firm TUSAS,while the TB2 was developed by a personal defense industry firm.

The impetus to make a domestically-produced drone was driven by the U.S. military embargo in 1975, and Washington’s reluctance tosell the country its advanced Predator and Reaper drones.

Turkey bought Heron drones from Israel, but found that relationship problematic also.

Drones are, however, not that tough to manufacture, and the most up-to-date Turkish ones are quite impressive.The TB2 can stay aloft for twenty-four hours and can perform both reconnaissance and attack missions.

The effectiveness of those weapons was first demonstrated beyond Turkey’s borders in Syria in March 2020,where in retaliation for a Russian-backed Syrian attack that killed36 Turkish soldiers, Ankara launched a devastating attack on Syrian armored forces that were moving into Idlib province along the Turkish border.

Video footage showed them destroying one Syrian armored vehicle after another, including quite 100 tanks armored personnel carriers,and defense systems.

The Syrian offensive was delivered to a complete halt, and Idlib province secured as a haven for refugees.

Then in May, Turkish drones were wont to attack an airbase in Libya employed by the UAE-backed Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar, which ended the Libyan National Army’s offensive against Tripoli.

Turkish drone strategy

Finally, during the Nagorno-Karabakh war inSeptember 2020, Turkish drones interveningfor Azerbaijan against Armenia destroyed anestimated 200 tanks, 90 other armored vehicles,and 182 artillery pieces, forcing the latterto withdraw from the territory.

This has become some extent of nationalist pridein Turkey, as some pro-Azerbaijani videos suggest.

It seems that Turkey’s use of drones isgoing to vary the character of land power in ways that will undermine existing force structures, in the way that the Dreadnought obsoleted earlier classes of battleships, or the aircraftcarrier made battleships themselves obsoleteat the start of war II.

Combined arms land forces of the type thatdefeated Iraq twice within the 1991 and 2003 Gulf Warsare built around tanks, whose primacywas thanks tothe very fact that for several years, only a tank could destroy another tank.

Turkish
Image by cumhuriyet.com

One of the little-known facts about the 1967Middle East War was that only a few ofEgyptian tanks were killed from the air inIsrael’s massive opening air strike, becauseit was too difficult to hit so small a target with an airplane.

In the intervening years, precision-guidedmunitions began to proliferate, making thetargeting of tanks much easier, but they stillrequired expensive platforms just like the A-10 close-support fighter, which in turnnecessitated expensive air defenses to operateagainst a classy opponent.

Drones have now changed this picture substantially because they’re relatively cheap, hard to defeat, and don’t risk the lives of human pilots.Militaries round the world are scramblingnow to work out the way to defend themselvesagainst drones, and it’s not clear who willwin the race between drones and drone counter-measures.But it’s possible that the planet saw itslast massive tank battle during the 2003 Iraq War.

Drones have done much to market Turkey’srise as a regional power within the year 2020.The country has now decisively shaped theoutcomes of three conflicts, and promises to try to to more of an equivalent.

The Middle East, which seemed like it wasbeing polarized along Sunni-Shia lines ledby the 2 primary antagonists Saudi Arabiaand Iran, is actually more genuinely multipolar.Turkey has not aligned itself permanently with anyone.

It has opposed its fellow Sunni powers, theGulf States, in Libya; simultaneously sidedwith Russia by buying the latter’s S-400air defence system while attacking Russianforces in Syria; and has refused to alignits aims with Washington despite its continuing membership in NATO.

Yet it’s also sold TB2 drones to Ukraine,which might help unfreeze that conflict.

This has had some good consequences.Turkey’s intervention in Syria defeatedwhat would are a genocidal act againstthe refugees who had sought shelter in Idlib province.

Had Assad succeeded in retaking the province,he would have provoked another massive refugeecrisis with big implications for Europe.It’s not clear the planet would be better offhad General Haftar occupied Tripoli.

On the opposite hand, Turkey’s interventionin Nagorno-Karabakh created a huge refugee crisis for Armenians.The multi-sided nature of Middle Eastern conflictsmakes them harder to unravel, and is one reasonwhy the Syrian warremains raging after nearly a decade.

Many American critics of U.S. drone policyare still living during a world where the U.S.and Israel were the most users of this technology.But that world has already disappeared andis quickly giving thanks to one during which dronesbecome central battlefield weapons.

What which willappear as if in ten years’ time is anyone’s guess.Consequently, Turkey has become the world’sfourth-biggest drone producer after the US, Israel, and China.

This competition might allow other countriesto increase production level within the coming years. Additionally, the worth could be cheaper than today.

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