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Erdogan’s Turkey Looks to Develop Next-Gen Drone Subsystems

© Photo : Youtube/Baykar TechnologiesArmed drone Bayraktar
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Turkey’s foray into drone technology comes amid increased crackdowns against political and intellectual dissent as well as on the country’s Kurdish minority, while emboldening the government’s imperial ambitions.

On Monday, Turkey’s military procurement agency launched a competition promoting the domestic development of drone subsystems and accessories. The agency stated that companies interested in participating in the competition must apply no later than May 2.

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The subsystems the office seeks to develop domestically include turboprop engines, spare cruise systems, perceive-and-avoid systems, wideband-satellite communication systems, automatic takeoff and landing systems, high resolution cameras, surveillance systems, electronic support pods, electronic ground support systems and search-and-rescue systems.

The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) statement called for these subsystems to be mounted on the Anka, a medium-altitude, long-endurance Turkish-made drone that made its debut flight in February. That unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can reach an altitude of 19,000 feet and remain airborne for up to four hours.

The Anka, which Turkey looks to equip with advanced subsystems, will have both domestic and regional applications, ranging from surveillance of opposition groups inside of Turkey to providing intelligence support to so-called 'moderate' rebels inside of Syria.

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Turkey’s development of a self-sufficient surveillance drone industry is troubling, in light of the country’s recent crackdowns on dissent and ongoing severe human rights violations against the country’s Kurdish minority.

Turkish officials say they have no current plans to convert the Anka into an armed, tactical drone. Currently, Turkey uses an armed UAV called the Bayraktar for its tactical drone strike missions. 

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