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Turkey Gets Bayraktar Drones With Indigenous Electro-Optics

Turkey has taken delivery of new Bayraktar TB2 combat drones equipped with a locally-built electro-optical system, the country’s Presidency of Defense Industries Chairperson Ismail Demir announced on Saturday.

Developed by Turkish defense manufacturer Aselsan, the Common Aperture Targeting System is a high-performance electro-optical reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting system for fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial platforms.

It includes state-of-the-art cameras with larger apertures that capture more light for better image quality. It also features a laser range finder and target designator that can detect enemy assets up to 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) away.

Before the arrival of the modified Bayraktar, the Turkish military had been using drones with imported electro-optical systems. However, a recent embargo on such exports led Turkey to develop the system itself using indigenous materials.

Canceled Export Permits

Last year, the government of Canada canceled its drone technology export permits to Turkey after learning that the nation sold the equipment to Azerbaijan during the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh.

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said that the sale of its drones and related technologies to the Azerbaijani armed forces through Turkey was not consistent with Ottawa’s foreign policy.

The parts under embargo include a Wescam-developed electro-optic camera system for Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicles.

Turkey protested the decision, saying it expects NATO allies to refrain from actions that negatively affect bilateral relations.

The Bayraktar TB2

Developed by private Turkish defense firm Baykar, the Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance tactical drone with a “highly sophisticated design,” providing all needed solutions in one integrated system.

The system consists of a ground control station, a data terminal, and a remote display terminal, all produced domestically.

The aircraft also has an advanced avionic suite with a triple-redundant avionic system for fully autonomous taxiing, take-off, landing, and cruise.

The drone has more than 400,000 operational flight hours.

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