Tunisia has reportedly signed a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries to buy three Anka-S Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) at a cost of $80 million.
The deal also includes three ground control stations and the training of 52 Tunisian Air Force pilots and maintenance personnel in Turkey.
The agreement is the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations between the Tunisian ministry of defense and the Turkish government-owned combat drone manufacturer, reported Turkish online news outlet Haberler.com.
Türk Eximbank will provide the financing for the deal. The bank will provide $80 million in loans to Tunisia to buy the aircraft, according to Haberturk, another Turkish outlet.
The medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV is the latest in the Anka series of drones, which have been in service in the Turkish armed forces since 2017.
Currently, 30 Anka drones are reportedly serving in the Turkish defense forces.
One of the main features of the Anka-S is that it is satellite-controlled, which allows it to fly beyond line-of-sight distance, the Haberler report stated.
The outlet added that the latest in the Anka series now has increased resistance to environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and rain, while its landing and take-off wind limits were designed keeping in mind the most challenging conditions a drone of this caliber could possibly face.
The Anka-S can conduct a range of missions such as real-time intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communication relay, target acquisition, and tracking.
It can also carry 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 light-armored vehicles, personnel, military shelters and ground radar stations.
Turkish Drones in Demand
Demand for Turkish drones, particularly the Bayraktar TB2, has seen a many-fold increase following their performance in the Nagorno Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Recently, Kazakhstan reportedly showed interest in buying the armed drone when a delegation of the country’s defense officials visited Turkey’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Base Command in the southeast city of Batman.
Earlier, Ukraine announced its decision to buy five TB2s from Turkey next year following the completion of an October tactical military exercise.
In early October, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said his country is negotiating to buy the Turkish UAV, even though the European nation had already welcomed the arrival of Chinese CH-92A armed drones in July.