untitled design

More and more African countries are ‘getting in line’ for the Turkish Bayraktar

African countries are acquiring increasing numbers of Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drone to fight rebel groups, analyst Paul Melly wrote for the BBC on Wednesday.

African countries such as Togo, Niger, Ethiopia, Morocco and Tunisia have already acquired the Turkish-made weapon, whose popularity has been fueled by its effectiveness in many conflicts around the world, Melly said, while Angola has also expressed interest in the drone.

Bayraktar TB2 drones have recently been praised for countering Russian attacks against Ukraine, with Western and Ukrainian officials speaking highly of the drone since Russia’s invasion began in February.

In 2020, the drone allowed Azerbaijan to quickly control the skies and decisively win the war against Armenia in the long-disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in just six weeks.

“For African buyers, particularly poorer countries, drones provide an opportunity to develop significant air power without the huge costs in equipment and years of specialized training required to develop a conventional manned air force,” according to Melly, consultant with the Africa Program at Chatham House in London, who said this was particularly true for Niger and Togo.

The Bayraktar B2, produced by Baykar, a company owned by the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, is one of two prominent armed drones manufactured by Turkey. The weapon is cheaper than other western models but performs well in key parameters including range, altitude as well as sensors and communication system.

Niger and Togo face the challenge of containing Islamist militants, the analyst wrote, noting that the former’s military has been dealing with this problem for years, while for the latter, the extremists are a relatively new threat.

Turkish drones are able to provide countries with their own national aerial surveillance capability to stop militants and even attack them, the analyst wrote.

“For both Togo and Niger, supply cooperation with Turkey is also politically useful, reducing their public reliance on close security partnerships with France, the former colonial power, for which a significant section of domestic opinion remains anxious,” according to Melly.

The cooperation, in turn, allows the visibility of Ankara’s foreign policy south of the Sahara, beyond the long-term actions for which the Turkish government promotes itself, such as the construction of airports and other basic infrastructure.

Source: Capital

You may also like

Most popular