Ukrainian Navy expects to acquire Turkish drones

The head of the Ukrainian Navy said on Monday that his service expects to purchase Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 drones in an interview with Radio Svoboda.

Rear Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa, Ukraine’s highest ranking naval officer, said that his forces hoped to acquire the TB-2 for use in and around the country’s coastal waters. 

"For use in the Black Sea and Azov operational zones, Bayraktar will have improved tactical and technical characteristics, such as increased range. We will use them to cover the surface situation, to ensure the action of forces both on shore and at sea, " Neizhpapa told Radio Svoboda.

According to Neizhpapa, the purchase of the TB-2 and the four MILGEM stealth corvettes from Turkey are aimed at increasing Ukraine’s protection at sea amidst what he sees as a Russian reinforcement of its Black Sea Fleet in occupied Crimea. The deal was signed by Turkey and Ukraine on December 15. 

With the acquisition of the Turkish corvettes, Neizhapa believes it will raise Ukraine’s technological standards to a NATO level. 

Turkey and Ukraine have deepened their cooperation significantly in recent years, particularly in the defence industrial sector. Kyiv has previously announced it may acquire up to 48 TB-2 drones for its military.