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Ukraine conflict: Turkey to donate Lithuanian-funded Bayraktar UCAV to Kyiv

A Bayraktar TB2 in Lithuanian colours. The manufacturer, Baykar, is to donate the UCAV to Ukraine after learning about the crowdfunding effort of the Lithuanian public. (Baykar)

Baykar is to donate a Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) to Ukraine, after Lithuania crowd-funded the acquisition.

The Turkish manufacturer announced the donation on 2 June, saying it will gift the Bayraktar TB2 to Kyiv, and that the funds collected by the Lithuanian public for the purchase should instead be given to Ukraine for humanitarian aid.

“The people of Lithuania have honourably raised funds to buy a Bayraktar TB2 for Ukraine. Upon learning this, Baykar will gift a Bayraktar TB2 to Lithuania free of charge and ask those funds to go to Ukraine for humanitarian aid,” Baykar said.

The Turkish announcement came a day after Lithuania's Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said that a co-operation agreement for the procurement had been signed with the president of the Turkish Defence Agency, Ismail Demir. “This agreement paves the way for the purchase of Bayraktar, for which Lithuanians raised almost EUR6 million (USD6.4 million) in three days!” he said.

The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, which was developed to provide the Turkish Armed Forces with a tactical intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance capability. According to Janes All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned, the Bayraktar TB2 is 6.5 m long and has a 12 m wingspan. With a maximum take-off weight of 630 kg, the air vehicle can carry up to 55 kg in mission system and/or weapons payload. Performance specifications give the Bayraktar TB2 a cruising speed of 70 kt, a range of 150 km, an endurance of 24 hours, and a service ceiling of about 30,000 ft.

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