Iraq mulls buying Turkish drones, helicopters, military hardware

Iraq has reportedly expressed its interest in buying Turkish-built unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), helicopters, and military hardware

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Speaking on Iraqi television, Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Anad Saadoun reportedly said that Iraq had “reached a consensus” with Turkey concerning the purchase of that country’s Bayraktar TB2 UCAV.

Saadoun also said that his government “intended” to purchase 12 individual T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopters (ATAK) and sent a “request to buy” six of Turkey’s Koral electronic warfare systems.

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The minister’s remarks came after he attended the International Defense Exhibition (IDEF 2021) in Istanbul earlier this month. He met with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar and held meetings with senior Turkish defense industry officials.

Saadoun said they asked the Turkish side to prepare and send project offers. He reportedly said they would evaluate the process after the offers reach them by Tuesday.

A Bayraktar TB2 UCAV belonging to the Ukrainian army, during a parade to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2021. (AA Photo)

Developed by drone magnate Baykar, the Bayraktar TB2 – with its electronic, software, aerodynamic, design and sub-main systems fully designed and developed nationally – stands out among the world’s most advanced UAV systems in its class with its flight automation and performance.

Capable of operating both day and night, the Bayraktar TB2 has a record altitude of 27,030 feet for over 24 hours in the air and can carry 150 kilograms (over 330 pounds) of payload.

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Having been heavily used by the Turkish security forces, the UCAV has already been incorporated into the arsenals of Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Qatar.

In May, Poland became the first European Union and NATO member state to acquire drones from Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this year that Saudi Arabia was also interested in buying Turkish drones.

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Latvia also hinted that it could be the second European Union and NATO member state to acquire the Turkish UCAVs. Albania is also interested in striking a deal to procure Bayraktar TB2.

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