Turkey’s Baykar Defense has introduced the new Akinci strike drone into the Turkish Armed Forces following a ceremony for the same on August 29.

The ceremony was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, key personnel from the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and the State Agency for Defense Industry. The guests included leaders from Ukrainian companies who helped Ankara implement the project.

The Akinci UAV project has become a matter of pride for the Turkish developer and manufacturer Baykar Defense, which has completed the entire project in less than two years. The experienced gained in the development of previous models, including the Bayraktar TB2 reconnaissance and strike UAV, helped in speeding up the project.

During the ceremony, Erdogan noted “Turkish drones have changed the rules of the game in the theater of operations. And this is due to the hard work of our engineers. Today we see a new result”.

Turkey has emerged as one of the few countries having the technological capabilities for producing drones of this class.

The President of Baykar Defense also noted, the experience gained on this project will help in the development and production of the ambitious project to develop an unmanned strike fighter.

“I am sure that it will be implemented promptly and will be another pride of Turkey.”

The successful implementation of the project by Baykar Defense which increases Turkey’s ability to expand its technological competencies and capabilities was also noted by the Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar and the Head of the State Agency for Defense Industry of the Republic of Turkey Ismail Demir.

The new Akinci drones will significantly boost the Turkish military’s ability to reliably protect its airspace.

Akinci UAV

In the Turkish language Akıncı means light cavalry. The Akıncı drone is a new generation strike UAV whose main purpose is to conduct operational and strategic air reconnaissance, as well as conduct airstrikes on enemy targets.

It has a wingspan of 20 meters and a length of 12.2 meters. Its maximum takeoff weight is 6000 kg.  It is equipped with a powerful EO/IR cameras, and various other sensors, including AESA radar (in the future).

The protype of the Akıncı was first flight tested on December 6, 2019. Akinci flew 7507 km during the tests. It is equipped with Ukrainian AI-450T engines developed by Ivchenko-Progress. The Ukrainian company exported at least 12 of these engines to Turkey between 2018 to 2020.

The drone can be fitted with one of three types of turboprop engines with 225 hp turbo diesel, 450, and 750 hp. It is expected that Baykar will continue to use Ukrainian-made engines for the mass production of Akinci.

The Akıncı drone can stay in the air for up to 24 hours and has a maximum flight altitude of 12 km. With a flight speed of 370 km/h, it has a total payload weight of 1500 kg.

The UAV can be armed with 24 MAM-L bombs or other air bombs including Mk81, Mk82, and Mk83, and can also carry various surface-to-surface missiles such as SOM, Gökdoğan & Bozdoğan A2A missiles, KGK-82, Teber-81 bombs, LGK-82, as well as Cirit missiles.

The Akıncı is also equipped with an autonomous control system that enables it to complete its mission and return to its base station without human intervention.

It will be equipped with EW system in the future, the company is still working on it.