Aerial Warfare

Azerbaijan Opens Facilities for New Bayraktar Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

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Azerbaijan Opens Facilities for New Bayraktar Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

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Azerbaijan Opens Facilities for New Bayraktar Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle
Azerbaijan Opens Facilities for New Bayraktar Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

Azerbaijan has opened a training facility and hanger for a new Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle, confirming the country bought the Turkish-made combat system. The training facility is for UAV operators, while the hanger will serve as a maintenance headquarters. The Feb. 9 ceremony also involved a flight of the Akinci, according to the Azeri government. The chief technology officer of Akinci manufacturer Baykar, Selcuk Bayraktar, posted images of the event on X, formerly known as Twitter. Attendees included Bayraktar, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and his son Heydar Aliyev, as well as other high-ranking officers.

Azerbaijan had quietly purchased the Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle. In March 2022, Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar said during a news conference that three nations were interested in buying drone type. According to the company, the first group of Azeri pilots for the Akinci completed training in October 2022. In April 2023, Baykar and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of Baykar drones in the country. Azerbaijan previously used TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles in its war against Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev uses the controls for a newly delivered Akinci drone on Feb. 9, 2024. (Azeri government)
Azeri President Ilham Aliyev uses the controls for a newly delivered Akinci drone on Feb. 9, 2024. (Azeri government)

Bayraktar Akinci is a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being manufactured by the Turkish defence company Baykar. The aircraft has a 5.5+ ton maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), of which over 1,350 kg (2,980 lb) is payload. Ak?nc? is equipped with two turboprop engines of either 450 hp (460 PS; 340 kW) or 750 hp (760 PS; 560 kW). The Akinci is a high-altitude, long-endurance drone with a maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 kilograms (12,228 pounds), compared to the TB2?s 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds).

The Akinci’s payload is 10 times more than that of the TB2. The Akinci can also fly higher than the TB2 at around 30,000-40,000 feet max. The Akinci also uses a wide range of ammunition and missiles, including MAM –L, MAM-C, Cirit, L-UMTAS, Bozok, SOM-A, and the Mark 81/82/83 bomb series. The Ak?nc? drone is equipped with an indigenously manufactured active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar called MURAD, a SAR/GMTI radar, a surveillance system, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence suite (SIGINT), and SATCOM allowing Akincis to become UCAV as well as ISTAR+C3 assets for the Turkish military.

An Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle takes flight Feb. 9, 2024, in Azerbaijan. (Azeri government)
An Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle takes flight Feb. 9, 2024, in Azerbaijan. (Azeri government)

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