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ESKISEHIR - Turkey's first Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance, or MALE, unmanned aerial vehicle is set for test flights, top executive of the developer company said on Tuesday.

Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, has completed works on design, manufacturing and assembly of the drone, CEO Muharrem Dortkasli told the AA.

TAI has been dealing with unmanned aerial vehicle technologies since 1992 and developed several drones in different classes.

"The MALE unmanned aerial vehicle is totally indigenous and designed, produced and assembled by Turkish engineers," Dortkasli said. "We will start test flights in a few months."

The MALE has a service ceiling of 30,000 feet with an endurance of 24 hours. It has a fuselage length of nine meters and a wing span of 17 meters.

TAI plans to deliver first MALE drone to Turkish Armed Forces in 2011 and hopes to sell it to other countries afterwards.

In 2005, Turkey awarded a contract to buy 10 Heron unmanned aerial vehicles from two Israeli firms. Six of the Herons have been delivered to Turkey but rest of the order is expected to arrive in Turkey by the end of this year.

The Heron UAV System is also a long-endurance medium-altitude system with fully automatic take-off and landing features. The Heron, also, can climb up to an altitude of 30,000 feet with a range of 350 kilometers and a continuous flight for at least 24 hours.

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