Turkey drone documentary premiers on Muslim holiday

A documentary featuring Turkey’s first armed drone has premiered on YouTube during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

The film, entitled “AKINCI” after the drone’s name, takes the viewer on a journey from the start of the weapon’s development to its first flight on Dec. 6, 2019. The video was released by Baykar, which produces the aircraft, at precisely 20:23 local time on Sunday, in reference to the foundation of the Turkish republic in 2023.

Turkey has become a globally renowned producer of unmanned aircraft under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose government has provided billions of dollars of financial support to the defence industry to help elevate Turkey’s status to a top regional power.

Chief Technology Officer Selçuk Bayraktar had posted two trailers of the documentary, directed by Altuğ Gültan and Burak Aksoy over a 15 month period, on his Twitter account over the past week.   

The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) is able to fly for up to 24 hours at a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet (12,192 metres). It has a load capacity of 1,350 kilogrammes (2,976 pounds) and its wingspan is 20 meters (65 feet), according to Baykar’s website.