Saudi Arabia is reportedly interested in acquiring six ANKA unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and two ground control stations, a report by Defense News said yesterday.
According to the report, Görkem Bilgi, manager of the corporate marketing and communications department at TAI, said talks with Saudi Arabia have been ongoing since 2013 but no official contract has been signed, yet.
Bilgi said Saudis had some requirements regarding the reconnaissance issues and that the negotiations for this part of the agreement were in progress. He added that technology transfer was also discussed within the scope of the agreement.
The report also said another source close to the deal said low oil prices led to Saudis demand in a reduction of the aircraft's costs. On the other hand, Bilgi reportedly stressed the openness of the company on the issue.
The first domestically-made drone design, ANKA, is currently used by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), while another 10 unmanned aerial vehicles are expected to be delivered in 2018, the report said.
ANKA, an advanced Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class unmanned aerial vehicle system, can function in day and night for all-weather reconnaissance, target detection and identification and intelligence missions with its EO/IR and SAR payloads, featuring autonomous flight capability, including automatic takeoff and landing.
It incorporates a heavy-fuel engine and electro-expulsive ice protection system with an advanced ground control station and dual datalink allowing operational security and ease. The system is expandable with a transportable image exploitation station, radio relay, remote video terminal and Satcom.
TAI is the largest defense and aviation industry exporter in the country for the sixth time in a row, according to Turkish Exporters Assembly's (TİM) evaluations for the year 2016.
TAI leads Turkey's efforts in aerospace technology and is ranked among the top-100 global players in aerospace and defense. The company has five areas of operation, including aero-structures, planes, helicopters, UAVs and space systems.
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