Ukraine is forming a joint venture company with Turkey to domestically produce as many as 48 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.
The news came from Vadym Ihorovych, General Director of Ukrspetsexport, a state-owned Ukrainian defense manufacturer, in an interview with online publication Left Bank.
Bayraktar TB2 is manufactured by Turkey’s Baykar Makina, a manufacturer of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and artificial intelligence systems.
In 2019, Ukrspetsexport and Baykar Makina established Black Sea Shield to develop UAS, engine technologies, and guided munitions. Ihorovych said a company similar to Black Sea Shield is now being formed to undertake the production of the drones in Ukraine.
Ukrayna Deniz Kuvvetleri Komutanı Tümamiral Oleksii Neizhpapa, Baykar Milli S/İHA Ar-Ge ve Üretim Merkezi'ni ziyaret etti.
Kendisini ağırlamaktan memnuniyet duyduk.
— BAYKAR (@Baykar_Savunma) October 18, 2020
“We are interested in the development of production of Bayraktar TB2 strike drones, as the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine … plans to purchase 6 to 12 such strike complexes in the near future,” Ihorovych said.
Ihorovych further explained the joint venture’s current focus is to manufacture the Scythian anti-tank guided missile. He added that Turkey has already placed an order for the missiles.
Ukraine Could Export Drones
On the possibility of exporting the drones to a third country, Ihorovych said the two companies have agreed to let Ukraine export them to any country, barring those to which Turkey already exports the drones.
“There is already an agreement with the Turkish side that we do not go to those countries where they are already present with these products – to the same Azerbaijan, for example,” he said.
In a write-up about the conflict, military warfare blog Oryx described a September 27 incident in which the TB2s fired Roketsan MAM-L Smart Munitions, striking at least three Armenian 9K33 Osa and three 9K35 Strela-10 mobile surface-to-air missile systems, leaving Armenian forces clueless about how to deal with the unmanned aircraft.
However, the drones built in Ukraine will be slightly different from the ones manufactured in Turkey, Ihorovych said.