Is Ukraine the First Export Customer of Akinci Attack Drone?

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Turkey’s Baykar has exported the first model of its latest drone, the Bayraktar Akıncı unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).

“We have also completed the first export contract of Bayraktar Akıncı UCAV. Within the scope of the contract, we will deliver Bayraktar Akıncı UCAVs and ground systems in 2023,” Baykar General Manager Haluk Bayraktar disclosed this to government-owned Anadolu Agency (AA) Sunday.

He did not specify the country to which the Akinci drone was exported, neither the number of drones or its value. However, pointers are that Ukraine, which supplies engines to the Akinci drone, may well be the first customer of the new drone given its current stand-off with Russia.

Military tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been high since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014. Moscow has currently deployed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine. Kyiv will soon receive lethal weapons from the U.S. and the U.K.

On January 13, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran received the co-chairperson of the Ukraine-Turkey Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Rustem Umerov, and the parliamentary delegation accompanying him. “We are further strengthening our strategic partnership with our parliamentary diplomacy,” Kiran said.

The Turkish and Ukrainian leaders set a $10 billion annual trade volume target, which is currently more than $5 billion.

Kyiv is set to host the 10th High-Level Strategic Council between Turkey and Ukraine on February 3, with the heads of state expected to attend the event that will mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

The Ukrainian Army and Navy already have several deadly Bayraktar UAVs in their inventory. Following escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, a Bayraktar TB2 conducted a reconnaissance flight on 9 April 2021, over the Donbas region. This was the first operationalization of the aircraft by the Ukrainian Forces within an active conflict zone.

Also read: Ukrainian Military Deploys Turkish-made Bayraktar Drone in Donbas

Akinci Combat Drone

The Akinci belongs to a new class of “heavy” drones. It has a wingspan of 20m, and is powered by two Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress AI-450 turboprop engines.

With the preliminary design phase completed in June 2019, Akıncı started engine ground run in August with Al-450. First engine test was accomplished a month later.


The drone is capable of conducting operations that are being done with fighter jets. It carries electronic support systems, dual satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, collision avoidance radar and synthetic aperture radar. The Akinci can also be used in air-to-ground and air-to air attack missions.

The UAV will be equipped with multifunction AESA Radar system for air-to-air, syntetic, meteorology estimation.

The drone can be armed with Mini Smart Munition MAM-L, Mini Smart Munition MAM – C, Cirit Missile, L-UMTAS Missile, Mini Smart Munition Bozok, MK-81, MK-82, MK-83 Guided Bombs (JDAM), Wing Assisted Guided Bomb MK-82, Gokdogan and Bozdogan air-to-air missiles, and Stand Off Missile SOM-A.

Baykar claims that the Akinci is equipped with dual artificial intelligence (AI) avionics which supports for signal processing, sensor fusion and situational awareness in real time.