Large crowds continued to arrive Wednesday in the now-closed Atatürk Airport to examine Turkish defense companies' cutting-edge products exhibited on the sidelines of Teknofest Istanbul, Turkey's largest aerospace and technology event and the second-biggest aviation event in the world. Industry representatives met with domestic and international visitors, especially students of all ages, during the ongoing event, which will run through Sunday.
The event is jointly organized by the Turkish Technology Team Foundation (T3) and the Industry and Technology Ministry. Having become one of the leading aerospace events in the world by hosting more than 550,000 visitors in its inaugural year, the event is expected to attract more than 1 million visitors this time.
The festival boasts a host of activities such as aviation shows, seminars, workshops, drone championship, contests and concerts.
One workshop, in particular, proved to be a hit among TEKNOFEST's attendees. The "Designing My Rocket" workshop, held by the Defense Research and Development Institute (SAGE) of the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) — a national agency playing a leading role in the creation of a science and technology culture in Turkey — had initially been planned to be held in eight separate sessions in the first two days of the festival, but due to high demand 12 sessions were organized.
Several types of products, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), artificial intelligence (AI) software, civil and military aircraft, weapons, rockets, flying cars, unmanned vessels, robots, autonomous and electric cars, engines and communication systems, were introduced amid the fair's attractions.
Smart nano drone debuts
The event saw the leading Turkish defense company ASELSAN for the first time publicly display its smart nano drone.
The drone – developed for exploration, surveillance and intelligence purposes – is capable of performing tasks in both open and closed spaces. Thanks to its size, the drone is silent and can barely be seen, its creators noted.
The device can stay in the air for at least 25 minutes and broadcast clear live footage from a distance of 1.5 kilometers. ASELSAN claims the drone, which took around a year to develop, has superior performance compared to its peers in terms of size and weight. The company said it plans to deliver the drones to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) next year.
Turbo engine cooperation with Ukraine
Selçuk Bayraktar, the chairman of the T3 Foundation and the chief technology officer of the leading unmanned aerial platform (UAV) developer Baykar Makina said yesterday that they would be cooperating with Ukraine on turbo engines.
"The engines we will use in the unmanned aerial vehicle Akıncı are a matter of mutual production, and production in Turkey. You can see [Turkey and Ukraine] as two different countries with complementary abilities. Therefore, this cooperation will have very positive results for both countries," he told Anadolu Agency's (AA) Finance Desk in an interview on the sidelines of the festival.
Last month, Baykar Makina established a joint venture with Ukrainian arms trade company Ukrspetsexport, a subsidiary of Ukroboronprom. The main mission of the joint venture is to combine the defense capabilities of both countries and ensure the mass production of new modern defense products for their respective armies.
Baykar Makina's newest armed drone Akıncı, an upgraded version of the company's trademark platform Bayraktar TB2 armed drone, is being showcased for the first time in public.
Dubbed "the flying fish," the Akıncı drone is an important step for Baykar to upgrade its UAV technology.
Operated with two turbine engines, the Akıncı can carry nearly 1.5 tons in useful load: 900 kilograms external and 450 kilograms internal. Flying at an operational altitude at 40,000 feet, the Akıncı can stay in the air for 24 hours. The platform can be controlled via domestically developed satellites.
The Akıncı will also be equipped with an electronic support pod, air-to-air radars, satellite communication system, barrier-identification radar, synthetic aperture radar and meteorological radar – all designed and developed in Turkey. The platform will operate with various ammunition configurations.
The drone has just recently completed its first engine test and is expected to officially start serving Turkish security forces in 2020. Bayraktar yesterday said they aim for Akıncı to carry out its first flight in October.
Baykar Makina's high-tech flying car prototype is also currently on show at the Teknofest. The country's first indigenous flying car, Cezeri, was produced in a lightning-fast nine months. Cezeri can currently carry one person but its next version will have room for more.
The vehicle is to be used for urban transportation in the future.
The car gets its name from Ismail al-Jazari, one of the great Muslim inventors and engineers of the Islamic Golden Age who lived during the 12th century in eastern Anatolia.
Baykar, established in 1984, produces armed and non-armed drones, control systems, simulators, and avionics systems.
Newest armored pickup vehicle
On the other hand, one of Turkey's largest commercial and defense vehicle producer BMC will develop at least seven different models of its newest armored pickup vehicle, which was showcased for the first time on the sidelines of the festival, one of the company's board members said yesterday.
BMC Board Member Taha Yasin Öztürk told Anadolu Agency that they initially started to design the vehicle two years ago to meet the operational needs of security personnel working under the Interior Ministry, adding that they are now developing different versions for different areas.
Öztürk said that they have successfully launched the vehicle to the market, adding that BMC plans to launch another unique vehicle to the market by the start of next year, which will be the "real surprise." Öztürk said BMC plans to begin overseas sales of the pickup in the Middle East region. Öztürk said that BMC also plans to begin mass production of the newly developed vehicle in the first week of January.
The vehicle weighs six tons, has 280 horsepower and can carry five people. A machine gun can also be mounted on the back of the vehicle. The pickup is mine sensitive, has a BR 7 ballistic protection level and is resistant to up to 3 kilograms of TNT.