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AA 12/12/20: Turkish drones real threat to enemies: UK defense chief

Roots of these drones are born out of Turkish innovation, says Ben Wallace.

Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicle, the Bayraktar TB2, has been responsible for the destruction of hundreds of armored vehicles and even air defense systems in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere, the UK’s defense secretary said on Friday.

“The roots of these drones are born out of Turkish innovation,” Ben Wallace said in a webinar organized by the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI), a British security think tank.

“Prevented from gaining access to exquisite foreign programs, they [Turkey] did what we used to do so well – they innovated.”

Wallace said the Turkish drone has the capability to present “real challenges to the enemy.”

“The TB2 and its accompanying munitions combine technical abilities with an affordability that means their commanders can tolerate some attrition while presenting real challenges to the enemy,” he said.

Wallace also delved into the changing landscape of global conflicts and the threats faced by the UK today.

“We have a tendency in the West to divide conflict between war fighting (the violent activity of a ‘proper’ so-called shooting war) and the sub-threshold (everything before the shooting starts), when in fact today’s conflict is carried out through typically non-violent but undoubtedly hostile activities,” he explained.

“This division might give comfort to our ‘rule of law’ approach, but it drives a static war and peace disposition. This makes us deeply vulnerable to those that don’t play by the same rules, especially below the threshold.”

He stressed that strides made by the UK’s adversaries “in new domains and their investment choices aren’t by accident.”

“They are a result of a studied approach to our strengths and weaknesses. They are fluid, we are static. They use readiness, innovation and presence, while we remain entirely predictable in our processes and posture,” the British official said.

“In truth they are masters of the sub-threshold while we tie ourselves up in self-imposed risk matrixes, contradictory legal frameworks, and often bureaucratic barriers.”

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