Greece creating shield to counter Turkey’s drone threat

Τhe increasing threat posed by Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have spearheaded Ankara’s provocations in the Aegean in recent months, has become a focal point of the attention not only of the Hellenic Armed Forces, but also of foreign policy.

This concern has been exacerbated by their ever-increasing use for the violation of Greece national airspace with flights over Greek islands.

They also constitute an exportable item in Africa, Asia and Europe. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed that the country’s armed forces are present everywhere “with our unmanned aerial vehicles.”

In response to these threats, the Greek Defence Ministry is seeking to shield the Aegean sea from the encroachment posed by UAVs, with countermeasures deployed on the islands.

According to Turkish Industry Minister Mustafa Varank, his country’s armed forces have at least 200 UAVs.

On Monday, the director of the Baykar company, Selçuk Bayraktar, who is also Erdoğan’s son-in-law, presented the “Kızıl Elma” (Red Apple), model of the new unmanned fighter that Turkey is preparing, which is expected to make its first flight in March 2023.

The most important unmanned fighter, and perhaps the most successful, is considered to be the Bayraktar TB2.

At least 300 such aircraft have been produced and the Turkish security forces have about 180 of them. They are used for targeted strikes against tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. The export success of this unmanned aircraft is impressive, as they have been sold or assigned to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Qatar, Libya, Turkmenistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, and there are reports of consignments to Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kyrgyzstan. Poland has ordered 24 Bayraktar TB2s.

These drones have proven their capabilities in fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, giving Azerbaijan the upper hand in a war with Armenia over the disputed territory, as well as with the Ukrainian strikes on Russian forces.

The Bayraktar Akıncı is the company’s second unmanned aircraft, which has the capability to carry both ground-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems.

This aircraft has also been used by the armed forces of Pakistan and Azerbaijan. It is considered particularly successful in Turkey’s missions against the PKK.

The Turkish Aerospace Industry (TUSAŞ) is also involved in the production of drones such as the Anka, of which about 40 are estimated to have been delivered so far, with another eight pending for Tunisia and another three to Kazakhstan. It also building the Aksüngür.

(This story was originally published by the Kathimerini newspaper and is reproduced by permission.)

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