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Turkey takes delivery of Akinci armed reconnaissance UAVs

The first batch of five indigenously developed Akinci medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces at a ceremony at the company's facility on 29 August.

Developed by private firm Baykar, the Akinci is an armed reconnaissance UAV that made its maiden flight on 9 December 2019. The first serial production vehicle was first flown on 19 May this year.

The air vehicle measures 12.2 m long with a 20 m wingspan. It has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 5,500 kg and a payload capacity of 1,350 kg.

Two wing-mounted 750 hp turboprop engines enable it to attain cruise and maximum speeds of 130 kt and 195 kt, respectively, as well as a service ceiling of 40,000 ft. However, it typically operates at altitudes of up to 30,000 ft.

Baykar's chief technology officer, Selçuk Bayraktar, noted that the Akinci recorded an altitude of 38,039 ft during flight trials.

The UAV features a triple redundant fully autonomous flight-control system and can perform fully autonomous taxi, take-off, cruise, and landing without external intervention. Communication is supported via line-of-sight and satellite communication (satcom) datalinks.

In terms of mission systems, the air vehicle will be equipped with a multimode active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, MX-20D electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret, and electronic support and electronic warfare systems.

The Akinci can carry a range of precision-guided munitions including Roketsan's family of Smart Micro Munitions (MAM-L/MAM-C/MAM-T), Cirit guided rockets, and L-UMTAS anti-tank missiles, as well as Tübitak SAGE's Bozok miniature munition.

The latter's SOM-A stand-off cruise missile was also seen mounted on the underbelly hardpoint of at least one of the air vehicles at the ceremony. The missile weighs 620 kg and has a stated range of 250 km.

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