Speaking to TRT World at the fifth annual Teknofest, Baykar’s chairman and CTO described Türkiye’s first unmanned fighter showcase as a 20-year “dream.”

At Teknofest, a six-day mega-tech event running through September 4th in Samsun, Black Sea region, one person made headlines and captured the nation’s imagination.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s leading drone maker, Baykar Technologies, unveiled its latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Bayraktar Kizilelma, to much excitement. And the man behind it, Baykar Chairman and CTO Selcuk Bayraktar, is the closest engineer to receive the rock star treatment.

“Kizirerma is [Türkiye’s] First unmanned combat aircraft. We have been waiting for it for 20 years,” said Bayrakthal. TRT world While talking about cutting-edge drones and what it means for the Turkish defense industry.

With aggressive maneuverability, capable of operating in the air for five hours at speeds of up to 900 km/h, the drone is expected to carry a payload of 1,500 kg, has a flight range of 930 km and an operational altitude of 35,000 feet.

The company plans to make its first flight in 2023.

The Bayraktar Kizirerma is a supersonic carrier-based unmanned combat aircraft scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2023.

The Bayraktar Kizirerma is a supersonic carrier-based unmanned combat aircraft scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2023. (Belal Khaled / TRTWorld)

“It’s been our dream since day one,” he says, revealing the symbolism behind the drone’s name (Kizilelma means “red apple”). .

“That was our Kijirema,” says a 20-year journey of demanding but satisfying journeys, and now one of only three countries in the world capable of developing such advanced aviation technology. You can see a certain Turkiye.

Known as the company that developed Turkey’s first domestically produced drone, Baykar launched its first drone in 2006, weighing 10kg but flying only 3 meters.

Rapid progress continued into 2014 with the development of a twin-propeller aircraft (TB2) large enough to carry a missile that could accurately hit targets up to 8 km away and fly for almost 24 hours without refueling. I was.

At the 2019 Teknofest, Baykar showcased the Bayraktar Akinci, which can perform operations that run parallel to fighter planes.

Akinci, Turkish for

Akinci, Turkish for “raider”, is a high-altitude, long-endurance UAV developed as a successor to the TB2 Bayraktar tactical UAV, and has proven itself in several battlefields. (Belal Khaled / TRTWorld)

Today, Bayraktar is synonymous with Turkish military power around the world, with exports accounting for over 80% of its revenue. Its successes in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and in other parts of the world brought it to the attention of the world. Most recently in Ukraine, Bayraktar TB2 drones became a symbol of resistance to Russian military power in the early stages of the war.

When asked about the competitive field of UAV warfare and how his company stays ahead of the curve, he said their advantage “comes from the fact that we’ve always been integrated into this space. “There is.”

“We are continuously innovating, upgrading our system based on new needs. That is how we stay on top of the race,” he said.

Under his watch, the Turkish military has become one of the world leaders in employing UAVs for combat operations.

Selcuk Bayraktar is the designer of Turkey's first domestically operational UAV system.

Selcuk Bayraktar is the designer of Turkey’s first domestically operational UAV system. (TRT World)

Bairaktar, who ignores comparisons to Elon Musk but prefers to follow in the footsteps of legendary Muslim scientists like Aziz Sankar, Ismail Al-Jazzari and Al-Fargani, is an avid fan of his. He talks lightheartedly about the complexities of UAV warfare while interacting with a swarm of . He is 70 or 7 years old.

Bayraktar is equally comfortable talking about the intricacies of UAV warfare while interacting with his throng of die-hard fans, whether they’re 70 or 7. He uses every opportunity to inspire the public to think of innovation and envision ways to solve future challenges.

When discussing Technofest, Bayraktar describes it as a “revolution”. This is in the sense that it shows how Turkey is changing “from a technology-consuming culture to a technology-developing country.”

“We’re seeing the impact,” he said, pointing to the many tech competitions at the center of this mega-event. This year, there will be over 40 different categories of contests, including semiconductors, drones, satellites, rockets, robotics, AI, and more.

“Because of us, young people, start-ups and tech companies have more confidence. [Baykar’s] Success in the defense industry,” he added.

But Bayraktar does not rest on the laurels of his company’s stellar success, arguing that much more needs to be done before Turkier becomes technologically self-sufficient and a global hub of innovation. is doing.

“Right now, we’re totally focused on bringing that success to all of our consumer sector technologies, and we’re seeing that change happen,” he said.

“But of course, we have to do more for Turkey to develop its technology and achieve its goal of becoming a prosperous country.”

And to millions of his compatriots, he is a symbol of what the new Turks aspire to be, confident and forward-thinking while contributing to the greater good of the country.

Source: TRT World


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