Turkey’s success in manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and combat vehicles was highlighted by Forbes Magazine, one of the U.S.’s most well-respected publications, pointing that thanks to the drones’ zero-error firing system, Turkey’s enemies will sleep with one eye open for years.
The U.S.-based publication praised the progress made by Turkey’s local drone industry, which has been built from the ground up, in recent years, particularly the Bayraktar TB2 and Anka-s, both of which played a major role in big victories in battlegrounds across Syria, Iraq and Libya.
The article went on to state that drones such as Akıncı, Aksungur and Alpagu, on which production has already started and are set to be added to the arsenals of the Turkish Armed Forces, are going to strengthen Turkey’s hand in the region, noting that the capabilities of these drones to successfully identify and destroy targets will be a major threat for Turkey’s adversaries.
The Turkish army’s four-propeller Kargu-2 kamikaze drone achieved great success in the fight against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, according to the analysis which pointed to the drones’ ability to lock-in targets in both open and enclosed spaces.
The magazine also pointed that “the Akinci is expected to become Turkey’s ‘main aerial vehicle for intelligence-surveillance-target acquisition (ISTAR) and command-control-communication (C3) tasks in the next decade.’”
The success of the Turkey-made drones drew the attention of numerous states, including Azerbaijan.
After their achievements in Libya and Syria, frequent reports and analyses in the Azerbaijani press emphasized the importance of the Turkish drones; particularly their efficacy against Russian-made weapons in Syria and Libya has drawn a lot of attention since Armenia often uses Russian-made weapons.
These developments have created a new basis for military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Especially after the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council held in Baku on Feb. 25, 2020, where the parties signed a Free Military Assistance Agreement, which meant that Turkish drones will be supplied to Azerbaijan.
Turkey Presidential Defense Industry Chairman Ismail Demir stated that "our defense industry, from our drones, ammunition and our missiles, to our electronic warfare systems; all our experience and technology are always at the disposal of Azerbaijan at any given time," which gave a clear message that Turkey was ready to support Azerbaijan in terms of providing modern technology.
After the meeting in Baku, news started circulating in the press that the necessary procedure for the delivery of drones to Azerbaijan was completed between the parties. The use of unmanned military vehicles in battle will deeply impact the course of the war, the capability of the warring parties and the outcome of the fight. Azerbaijan, whose territory is under occupation it should be noted, has added UAVs and combat drones to its military arsenals.
Azerbaijani experts use Turkish drones
In an earlier analysis published in the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, it was stressed that the Armenian government’s claim that Turkey was using drones against Yerevan was “false,” noting that is a known fact that Azerbaijan had purchased Turkish drones and that Azerbaijani experts used these along with the UAVs purchased from Israel.
An article published by Russian newspaper Izvestia pointed to the success of Turkish drones in the operation. The piece goes on to quote a military expert called Aleksey Hlopotov, who assessed the situation there as follows:" The sky is completely dominated by unmanned aerial vehicles. Armenia's tanks are vulnerable to UAVs. Old-type tanks are now ancient history.”
The article also pointed that back in September, the Azerbaijani army used Bayraktar TB2s to destroy nine missile defense systems that belonged to Armenia.”
The newspaper also drew attention to the claim made by Defense Express magazine that at least 23 Russian-made Pantsir-S1 missile systems had been destroyed by Bayraktar UAVs in Syria and Libya in recent years.
Russia’s worst nightmare
The Azerbaijani army’s military operations in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh were a major cause for concern in Russia. Thanks to the active role of Turkish UAVs in this operation, the Azerbaijani army was able to make significant gains. A Russian security analyst stated that Turkey would tip the balance by being involved in the region's conflict, saying that "Russia has for 30 years been the main player in the South Caucasus. It even armed both sides of the conflict, claiming to have maintained the balance of power, however, it only increased its influence there. Meanwhile, Turkey's participation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could be Russia's worst nightmare,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, there are big question marks surrounding the 102nd Russian Military Base built along the Turkey-Armenia border, which has constantly been expanded and armed since 2013.