Turkey has announced that its military forces will use cargo drones for its logistics needs, with production estimated to start in 2021. The move to drones is a part of a greater effort for the Turkish Military to utilize them more.
The cargo drones will be developed by Turkish drone manufacturer Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which will be supplying troops in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria.TAI shared in a statement:
Our Vertical Landing and Take-off Cargo UAV project will quickly and safely meet the logistical support our Turkish Armed Forces needs in mountainous terrain.
Back in 2018, the announcement was made by the Presidency of Defense Industries Ismail Demir that Turkey will be launching a cargo drone program with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities soon after it was announced that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) won the contract and has been developing the drone ever since.
In the recent announcement on November 7th, Demir added the following:
Thanks to the cargo UAV systems, the requirements such as weapons, ammunition, medical equipment, [and] equipment required by the security forces on the battlefield will be delivered in a very short time and safely even in difficult weather conditions.
The drone will reportedly be able to carry up to 110 pounds and deliver goods to troops in hard to reach locations including mountainous areas.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was founded in 2005 and is owned by various Turkish government agencies. TAI currently produces aircraft, helicopters, drones, and satellites for military and government use. The company launched its first drone back in 1982, the TAI UAV-X1 surveillance drone. Since then, TAI has been busy creating nine more drones, with eight already in service.
The latest drone is the TAI Aksungur, with an expected introduction sometime this year. It will primarily be used for long-term surveillance, signals intelligence, and maritime patrol missions but can be equipped with up to six rockets, missiles, or bombs. It has a flight time of 49 hours and can fly at speeds of 160 miles per hour.
The Aksungur uses two TEI PD170 220 horsepower engines with three-bladed propellers allowing it to fly up to 40,000 feet. The drone can take-off with a maximum weight of 7,275 pounds with a payload capacity of 1,653 pounds.