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Turkey announces Nigerien light aircraft, UAV order

Turkey will sell Hürkuş light aircraft, Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and armoured vehicles to Niger, according to a statement released by Turkey's presidential Directorate of Communications on 18 November.

Released after a telephone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Nigerien counterpart Mohamed Bazoum, the statement said the Turkish-made equipment would increase the capabilities of Niger's military and security forces.

Temel Kotil, the general manager of Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ), revealed that the company had received the first export order for the Hürkuş in an interview with CNNTürk on 10 November, but did not identify the customer. He said deliveries would start in six months but did not say how many have been ordered.

In an earlier CNNTürk interview on 26 April, Kotil said TUSAŞ was very close to securing an export order for 12 Hürkuş-C aircraft. This is the armed variant of the Hürkuş-B training aircraft that is in service with the Turkish Air Force. Designed as a low-cost platform for asymmetric warfare, it is fitted with an electro-optical sensor turret and has hardpoints for up to 1,500 kg of stores that can include guided weapons made by Turkey's Roketsan.

The only fixed-wing ground attack aircraft currently operated by the Nigerien Air Force are two Su-25 jets. The Bayraktar TB2 would also be its first armed UAV.

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