The Ukrainian navy will receive an unspecified number of Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) drones with “improved characteristics” this year.
The decision was announced after a meeting between the representatives of Bayakar Makina, the manufacturer of Bayraktar, and Ukrainian naval officials, including the navy chief, in the Ukrainian city of Odessa on Tuesday.
“This year, the Ukrainian Navy will receive a complex of unmanned aerial vehicles with improved capabilities, which will operate in the interests of the Navy both on land and at sea,” said Ukrainian Navy commander Oleksiy Neizhpapa, the country’s navy reported through Facebook.
The announcement comes a few months after a state-owned Ukrainian defense manufacturer announced the country was forming a joint venture with Turkey to produce 48 Bayraktar TB2 drones in Ukraine. The deal stipulated that Kyiv may export the drones to any third country, barring those with which Turkey already has such an arrangement.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a surveillance and reconnaissance drone that can be armed with weapons such as anti-tank missiles, precision-guided missiles, and laser-guided rockets. It can fly up to 220 kilometers (136 miles) per hour and stay in the air for up to 27 hours.
It is in service with the Turkish Air Force and Gendarmerie, Qatar Air Force, Libyan Air Force, Ukrainian Air Force, and Azerbaijani Air Force.
Bayraktar has been acknowledged as playing an important role in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan last year, providing Azeri forces with a pivotal advantage in destroying Armenian air defenses.