Domestic unmanned aerial vehicle to spot PKK in Turkey

The Anka UAVs are expected to be delivered to the TSK in 2012, which is earlier than originally scheduled.

The first national unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Anka (Phoenix), is expected to enter service with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) shortly in operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as part of its test program.

Following a Heron UAV crisis with Israel, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has stepped up its efforts to deliver the domestic UAV as soon as possible.

The Anka UAVs are expected to be delivered to the TSK in 2012, which is earlier than originally scheduled.

The Ankas have already carried out several successful test flights. The TSK will be using Anka UAVs in operations against the PKK in trying to localize PKK militants.

The UAVs are important in Turkey’s intensified fight against the PKK, which has stepped up its PKK attacks against Turkish security forces, civilians and businesses in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey’s existing Heron UAVs are deployed in the southeastern province of Batman; however, the five Herons that Turkey had purchased from Israel have engine-related problems. Two of them are not in service and three have been returned to Israel for maintenance. It is unclear when they will be returned.

The project for Turkish-made UAVs, launched in 2004, became a major priority for the Ministry of Defense following a diplomatic crisis with Israel after an Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which resulted in the killing of nine Turkish activists. Officials from the ministry have stressed that the testing process is going well for the Anka UAVs.

The Anka UAV is able to fly for 24 hours at a time. Turkish engineers have said they are confident the Anka will become part of the country’s arsenal. Forty-three countries have now developed UAVs, which have proven to be extremely effective in gathering intelligence.

With a 56-foot wingspan, the ability to fly at a speed of 75 knots per hour and being capable of reaching an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters), the drone is expected to spy mostly on PKK militants who enter Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.

Cihan

25 October 2011 Tuesday