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Newly formed Maldives Air Corps inducts Baykar TB2s

The acquisition of Bayraktar TB2 MALE tactical UAVs will allow the Maldives to patrol its exclusive economic zone for a range of up to 300 km. (BAYKAR/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Maldives has inducted Baykar Bayraktar TB2 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) while forming a new Air Corps to conduct air operations with the type.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu formally inducted three UAVs on 15 March and said the acquisition is part of an effort to enhance the military capabilities of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). Janes assessed images of the UAV in MNDF service and identified one TB2 with the serial number AU703.

According to Muizzu, additional TB2s will be inducted. He added that Turkey also donated some military equipment “free of charge” to the MNDF.

The MNDF did not respond to a query from Janes about the acquisition at the time of publication. However, the procurement likely covers a total of six TB2s and a ground-control station. A Bayraktar system typically consists of six UAVs with two ground-control stations, two remote display terminals, three ground data terminals, and base with generator and trailer modules.

The Maldives procured the UAVs at a unit price of between USD5.1 and USD5.4 million, Janes assessed, based on analysis of TB2 contracts with other countries. According to the MNDF, the UAVs will provide the Maldives with the capability to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations within its territorial waters; identify, monitor, and counter illegal activities in the waters (including drug smuggling and illegal fishing); and “provide crucial information to the armed forces for a prompt response”.

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