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AA 08/05/13: Turkey's first indigenous drone ready for deployment, its manufacturer says

MALE-class unmanned aerial vehicle ANKA has performed well at tests, it is ready for duty.

Six years after the launching of the project, Turkey's first indigenous surveillance drone is now ready for deployment, its manufacturer has said.

Named after a phoenix-like mythological creature, the ANKA is Turkey's first-ever medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle developed entirely by Turkish engineers.

It was an attraction for aviation enthusiasts visiting the 11th International Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul, and it certainly is a pride for the Turkish Aviation and Space Industry Corporation, or TUSAS, the state-owned manufacturer.

"It carries a 120-kg camera, stays up in the air for 18 hours. The plane needs no human interference for its functions including take off and landing. The most important feature of the ANKA is that it is designed by Turkish engineers. If we need to make any changes to it, we can do it ourselves," Remzi Barlas, head of the UAV project, told the Anadolu Agency.

The plane, originally developed for the Turkish Armed Forces' surveillance and reconnaissance needs, is expected to end Turkey's dependence on foreign manufacturers. Turkey has a number of surveillance drones in its arsenal, the Israeli-made Herons.

ANKA's price tag will hover between $5 million and $8 million and that it will be sold also to foreign buyers, Barlas said.

"It has a system of protecting itself against frosting which is far better than all other rival systems. It can fly up to 15-20 nautical miles faster than the rival planes," he said.

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