Turkish drone maker Baykar will more than double capacity

Baykar, the Turkish defence firm that has shaken up the global market for armed drones, plans to more than double its production capacity.

The company will make more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) next year than it did in all previous years, including 500 of its signature TB2 drones, Chief Executive Officer Haluk Bayraktar told the state-run Anadolu news agency in an interview on Thursday.

Turkey is seeking to expand its arms industry to challenge Israel as the region’s biggest seller of weapons. The production of drones was once the reserve of defence contractors in Turkey’s Mediterranean neighbour and the United States. Baykar drones have gained traction and fame in global markets through their success in conflicts in countries such as Ukraine, Syria and Azerbaijan.

Baykar has produced more than 400 Bayraktar TB2 and 20 Bayraktar Akinci drones since its foundation. It has an annual capacity to manufacture 200 Bayraktar TB2s but will raise production next year to 500 TB2s and 40 of the Akinci drones, Bayraktar said at a technology event in the northeast city of Samsun.

The firm is now exporting drones to more than 24 countries. The sales abroad make up 98 percent of its revenue, he said.

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