As armed and unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) continue to beef up security forces operations against terrorist groups, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced that eight new series of domestically produced armed aerial vehicles have been added to the inventory.
The TSK received four armed drones, which can carry ammunition, in addition to the eight armed drones. The indigenous drones known as Bayraktar TB2 continue to contribute to the effective control of Turkey's airspace.
With the recent delivery, the number of armed and reconnaissance drones has reached 38. The TSK uses 26 of the aerial vehicles while the Security General Directorate and Gendarmerie General Command each use six aerial vehicles.
The effective use of drones in domestic and foreign operations has been also reflected in total flight hours, with the total duration of flight among vehicles reaching 30,000 hours.
Bayraktar TB2s can actively conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence missions. The drone, which can stay in the air for 27 hours and carry 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of weight, is able to operate day and night. It can also attack targets using its own ammunition. The Bayraktar TB2 can also pinpoint targets using laser capabilities for friendly aircraft, when necessary.
Turkey aims to meet its own demands by taking initiatives in the domestic defense industry. Since the country began using the domestically produced drones, entirely produced by the Turkish defense industry, it has become one of only six countries worldwide to produce its own UAVs. Officials in the defense industry have stressed that Turkey has long competed with the world's best in terms of drone production, implementing advanced technology.
The drones can also provide air surveillance support for operations by other security forces, in line with their requests. The rate of retaining aerial drones is low, as these drones leave fewer radar traces and their size is small. Compared to other aerial vehicles, the drones cannot be detected easily.
The use of drones has restricted the mobility of terrorists and thwarted their operational capabilities, limiting terrorists' abilities to hide in certain geographical areas.
Officials underscore that the drones can be effectively used in search and rescue operations, the protection of state officials and providing security for meetings and demonstrations, as well.In the last nine months, 1,853 terrorists have been killed in operations in Turkey and abroad, with the assistance of unmanned and manned aerial vehicles.