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Update: Azerbaijan unveils first Akinci UAV

The Baykar Bayraktar Akıncı UAV that was unveiled on 9 February. (President of the Republic of Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijan unveiled its Bayraktar Akıncı unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 9 February when President Ilham Aliyev visited what was described as the Azerbaijani Air Forces' (HHQ's) UAV academy.

The Ministry of Defence reported that Aliyev was briefed on the facilities that have been created at the academy for training personnel and viewed an Akıncı taking off and landing.

Photographs released by the president's office showed an Akıncı with Azerbaijani markings and the manufacturer serial S46, indicating it was produced after the ones displayed by Ethiopia in January, which had the serial S40, and in Kyrgyzstan in October 2023, which was S38. The Pakistan Air Force has also confirmed it has received Akıncıs.

Aliyev also inspected a range of air-launched weapons that included a Roketsan SOM cruise missile, a MAM-T laser-guided bomb, and a general-purpose bomb fitted with a glide kit. Azerbaijani TV coverage of the visit showed at least 10 other weapons were displayed, most of which could not be seen clearly but included Roketsan's Çakır cruise missile.

Baykar, the Turkish company that makes the Akıncı, says it plans to integrate the SOM-A cruise missile with the UAV, giving it a weapon with a range of 250 km, but has not reported any progress.

In contrast, Baykar stated in September 2023 that the shorter-range Çakır cruise missile had been tested by an Akıncı. It also announced Akıncı tests with the MAM-T, which is a 95 kg laser-guided glide bomb, and a 500 lb Mk 82 bomb fitted with the KGK-SİHA-82 guided glide bomb kit developed by Turkey's Tübitak SAGE in 2021.

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