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Burkina Faso receives Akinci UAVs

One of Burkina Faso's Bayraktar Akıncıs at the new UAV base, south of Ouagadougou. (Présidence du Faso)

Burkina Faso now has at least two Bayraktar Akıncı unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made by Turkish company Baykar, it was revealed on 8 April, when they were officially delivered, revealing a new airbase in the process.

Transitional President Captain Ibrahim Traoré's office released a statement saying he handed over a dozen combat UAVs that included Bayraktar TB2s, a type already in Burkinabe service, as well as Akıncıs to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The statement quoted Traoré as thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and saying the expansion of the UAV fleet “makes it possible to intervene in a timely manner and to have permanent surveillance”.

Minister of Defence Brigadier General Kassoum Coulibaly said the UAVs were acquired under the strategic equipment plan for the armed forces, a final phase of which has yet to be completed.

The president's office released photographs and a video of the handover ceremony showing two Akıncıs and three TB2s lined up at a previously unknown airbase. No other UAVs were shown.

One of the Akıncıs had the serial number S3 on its tail, suggesting it was one of the first six production models originally delivered to Turkish forces in August 2021, when S1 and S2 were photographed flying during a handover ceremony. S7 to S10 were seen at another delivery ceremony for Turkish forces in July 2022.

Meanwhile, Baykar developed the Akıncı B variant with more powerful engines, which has secured a series of export orders. S38 was seen in Kyrgyzstan in October 2023, S40 in Ethiopia in January, and S45 in Azerbaijan in February. The Pakistan Air Force is also a confirmed Akıncı operator.

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