Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
13 May 22. Turkish drones arouse desire, dispute in Central Asia.
Turkic republics of Central Asia are queuing up to buy increasingly combat-proven Turkish drones.
Last year, Kyrgyzstan signed a deal to purchase armed drones, becoming the first Central Asian country buying the Turkish system. Under the deal, the Bishkek government ordered an unspecified number of the Bayraktar TB2, produced by Turkish company Baykar.
Most recently, Turkey and Kazakhstan agreed to start co-producing Turkish drones that were sold to the Central Asian country just last year.
Anka, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), will be jointly produced by Turkish and Kazakh experts, according to a May 13 statement by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), maker of the Anka.
The drones will be manufactured at a facility soon to be established in Kazakhstan, TAI said.
The company signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Kazakhstan Engineering on the transfer of technology, including maintenance and repairs. The deal will make Kazakhstan the first Anka production base outside of Turkey.
Kazakhstan acquired in November three units of the medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drones in a deal that followed an agreement in October.
Anka made its maiden flight in December of 2010. A mass production agreement for the armed version of the drone, Anka-S, was signed in October 2013 and entered the Turkish Armed Forces inventory in 2017.
The drone can conduct a range of missions, including real-time intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communication relay, target acquisition and tracking. It can be equipped with weapons such as the Roketsan Smart Micro Munition’s air-launched missile launcher and the Cirit 2.75-inch guided rocket pod in its two underwing weapons stations to engage lightly armored vehicles, personnel, military shelters and ground radar stations.
Meanwhile, another Central Asian deal appears to have stirred a political kerfuffle between the Turkish government and two rival Turkic republics.
In April, officials in Kyrgyzstan voiced alarm over reports that neighboring Tajikistan may have bought the Bayraktar TB2, a sign of a growing arms race unfolding between the two countries.
Deputy Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Jeenbek Kulubayev told lawmakers on April 27 that the government in Bishkek had pleaded with Ankara to be cautious when selling the lethal drones to Dushanbe in light of border tensions.
A Baykar official refused to comment on the sale to Tajikistan. A senior Turkish procurement official said he could neither deny nor confirm the sale, citing the political sensitivity of the issue. An independent industry source confirmed the deal but did not elaborate on its terms.
(Source: Defense News)
17 May 22. WingXpand begins trials of its expandable wing UAV. A new WingXpand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is to be unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, WingXpand told Janes on 11 May ahead of the event.
The WingXpand UAV is a new type of fixed-wing platform with a patented expandable wing that is fully collapsible. Its original 2.13 m (7 ft) wingspan can be reduced by 60% in less than two minutes to fit the UAV into a backpack. It has a monocoque straight tapered wing integrated with a snap attach-and-locking mechanism for wing expansion, maintaining wing stability. It uses an open architecture system with modular payload capability, to service civil and military aviation sectors in surveillance and reconnaissance roles. The UAV can support public safety and defence, survey and inspection, damage assessment, and logistics operations. It uses smart sensing recognition via Edge artificial intelligence (AI) payloads. The company said it has received two patents for the UAV’s design. (Source: Janes)
13 May 22. Kaman Kargo UAV full-scale test expected in second half of 2022. Aerospace company Kaman said it is on track to fly a full-scale model of its Kargo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the latter half of third quarter.
Kaman flew a half-size model in June 2021 to test the new drivetrain designed for the UAV. The transmission for the full-size model is in manufacturing and will be delivered to Kaman “very soon“, Romin Dasmalchi, Kaman’s senior director of government relations, told Janes during the Modern Day Marine 2022 conference in Washington, DC on 10 May. The quadcopter UAV is being built to fly over 500 n miles with a max speed of 121 kt and carry up to 800 lb of cargo depending on the desired range. Payload options include a supply pod, medical pod, and an external slingload. The UAV fits into a standard-size cargo container and Kaman says that it can be taken out of storage and be flight-ready in “minutes”. (Source: Janes)
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