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Türkiye’s Baykar Inks Deal to Replace Embargoed Drone Electro-optic Systems

Turkish defense giant Aselsan and drone magnate Baykar signed a new contract worth $17.6 million, both companies announced Wednesday.

Aselsan made a related statement to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP).

“An order has been received by Aselsan from Baykar Makina for the delivery of the Electro-Optical System in the amount of $17.5 million. Deliveries will be made in 2023-2024 within the scope of the order,” the statement included.

Meanwhile, Haluk Bayraktar, general manager at Baykar said on his Twitter account that following the embargo by Canada on Baykar’s acquiring of electro-optical systems, which came after the Baykar-made unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) used by Azerbaijan in liberating Karabakh, they now started to use the domestically-developed Aselsan system, Common Aperture Targeting System (CATS).

Our national camera CATS has been exported to 12 different countries so far, he also said, noting that they join hands and “overcome each challenge together.”

Defense Industry Presidency (SSB) Head Ismail Demir, previously said on the embargo decision by Canada that embargoes or sanctions imposed on Turkey’s defense industry only lead the country toward producing the embargoed parts on its own, thus helping to speed up domestic production.

The Baykar-made Bayraktar TB2 UCAV – the one that was used in Karabakh – earlier in November 2020 was test-fired using domestically made ammunition with the Aselsan-developed CATS.

The Bayraktar TB2 was equipped with mini smart ammunition (MAM-L) developed by leading defense company Roketsan during the test. As part of the test flights, the CATS’ high-speed target locking and tracking capabilities were tested.

The MAM-L hit the target with pinpoint accuracy at high altitudes and distances with laser marking made by CATS.

CATS is a high-performance electro-optical reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting system designed for fixed-wing and rotary-wing airborne platforms, including UAVs, helicopters and aircraft.

Canada on April 12, 2021, canceled export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding that the country sold the equipment to the Azerbaijani military forces during fighting in the Armenian-occupied and internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory of Karabakh.

Türkiye, like Canada, is a member of NATO and is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces regained territory after six weeks of fighting and after three decades of illegal Armenian occupation.

However, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said at the time that the use of the technology “was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey.”

Ankara criticized the decision, saying that it expects Turkey’s NATO allies to refrain from taking steps that would negatively affect bilateral relations and harm NATO solidarity.

Source: Morning Express