Turkey’s newest armed drone “AKINCI” successfully completed its first test flight, the manufacturer Baykar Co. has announced on Friday (6th December).
The AKINCI drone flew for 16 minutes after smoothly completing fully-automatic taxi and takeoff. Akıncı also successfully performed its first fully-automatic landing at the end of the test which was held at an airdrome in Çorlu in northwestern Tekirdağ province.
Operated with two turbine engines, the AKINCI 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.
Baykar officials have said that the drone may be equipped with air-to-air missile systems domestically developed in Turkey and may be deployed in air-to-air missions.
The previous version of AKINCI UAV, the BAYRAKTAR has been used by the Turkish Navy frequently in the Aegean Sea. It is called as a “gamechanger” by Turkish officials. As known commonly, unmanned systems assure so many benefits to the forces at sea. The AKINCI can carry out a lot of naval missions with its high payload capability for very long periods and probably would be very useful at surveillance missions. Besides, the drone can carry SOM cruise missile, which could be very useful to the navy at the scene.
The drone is expected to officially start serving Turkish Armed forces in 2020.