The Turkish defense industry has made new deliveries of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) to the Turkish Land Forces Command, the top defense body's head said Saturday.
In a Twitter statement, Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) Chairperson Ismail Demir said the SSB had successfully delivered the Baykar-made combat drones.
He noted that the newly delivered drones are equipped with the leading defense firm Aselsan-developed Common Aperture Targeting System (CATS).
CATS is a high-performance electro-optical reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting system designed for fixed-wing and rotary-wing airborne platforms, including unmanned air systems (UASs), helicopters and aircraft.
The country’s drones were previously using electro-optic systems purchased from abroad but related embargoes on such exports led Turkish defense industry firms to develop the equipment with local resources within the country.
Last year, Canada canceled export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding that the country sold the equipment to the Azerbaijani military forces while fighting in the Armenian-occupied and internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey, like Canada, is a member of NATO and is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces regained territory after six weeks of fighting and after three decades of illegal Armenian occupation.
However, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the use of the technology “was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey.”
Turkey criticized the decision, saying that it expects Turkey's NATO allies to refrain from taking steps that would negatively affect bilateral relations and harm NATO solidarity.
As expressed by many military specialists and defense experts, the combat drones gave the Azerbaijani army the upper hand in detecting and destroying enemy forces and military equipment, including armored vehicles, howitzers, and Russian-made air defense systems.
Among the defense industry products that Turkey imports from Canada is the electro-optic camera system procured from the Wescam company.
Apart from using the domestically developed combat drones on its own, Turkey is also on its way to becoming among the world's No. 1 exporters in the field.
Export contracts have already been signed with 16 countries for Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, which have completed 420,000 flight hours.