Date: Wednesday, 22 November 2023
On Tuesday, November 14, Selçuk Bayraktar, the chief technology officer (CTO) and chairman of the board of directors of the Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar, released footage of the 6th test flight of the Bayraktar TB3 unmanned aerial vehicle on his X account. In the 20th second of this 1-minute-long test video recorded at the company’s flight training and test center in Çorlu, the Ethiopian flag was seen on a Bayraktar Akıncı with the serial tail number S40. As a result, it appears that for the first time Ethiopia has been revealed as another country which has procured Bayraktar Akıncı unmanned aerial vehicles from Baykar.
It is unknown how many Akıncı drones Ethiopia will procure under the terms of the contract signed with the Baykar firm. However, based on the video, it appears that the Akıncı to be acquired by Ethiopia is an A configuration. While the Bayraktar Akıncı A has 900 HP total engine power with two 450 HP engines, the Akıncı B has 1500 HP total engine power with two 750 HP engines. Baykar is also on the AKINCI C, which has a total engine power of 1900 HP (two 950 HP engines). Bayraktar AKINCI C is expected to make its first flight in the near future.
In recent years, Ethiopia has also purchased Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles from Baykar, which gained popularity as a result of their success in conflict zones such as Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Ukraine. As can be determined from open-source reports, Ethiopia currently operates at least four Bayraktar TB2s deployed at Bahir Dar and Harar Meda Air Bases. To date, Ethiopia has actively utilized these vehicles against the Tigray People’s Liberation Forces, along with Wing Loong unmanned aerial vehicles purchased from China and Qods Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicles manufactured in Iran. Ethiopia will most likely deploy the newly acquired Akıncı unmanned aerial vehicles for similar objectives and operations.