Turkish drone manufacturer begins joint venture with Ukrainian state defence firm

Turkish aviation defence firm Baykar has launched a joint venture to build precision weapons and aerospace technologies with the Ukrainian state defence firm Ukrspetsexport, the Ukrainian presidency’s advisory body on security announced on August 9.

“The main task of the venture is to combine the capabilities of both countries' defense complexes for large-scale production of new models of modern weapons for their armies”, the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine said on its website.

“This will allow moving away from classic arms purchase contracts to an entirely new level of cooperation - the synergy of defense technologies and the combination of advanced developments from Turkey and Ukraine”, it said.

The two companies will work together to develop a new generation unmanned aerial vehicle – a specialty of Baykar, which has earned plaudits for its work expanding the Turkish military’s fleet of drones.

The Turkish firm, which is owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Selcuk Bayraktar, has been producing cutting-edge drones that have also been exported to Ukraine and Qatar since the beginning of the year.

The council’s announcement said the two firms plan to jointly produce drones that “will be able to conduct detailed reconnaissance from high echelons of flight, spend hours in the air, develop considerable cruising speed and strike targets with a wide range of high-precision weapons”

The council said Turkish and Ukrainian firms have been cooperating on a range of projects that also includes military transport aircraft, high precision aviation weapons and active defence systems for armoured vehicles.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has made the development of the country’s defence sector a priority, with several ambitious indigenous arms project including the development of a tank and aircraft.