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President Aliyev Observes New Bayraktar Akinci Drone

By Timucin Turksoy February 11, 2024

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President Ilham Aliyev, his son Heydar Aliyev (L) and Baykar Company Technology Director Selcuk Bayraktar (R) next to the Bayraktar AKINCI drone, February 9, 2024

President Ilham Aliyev and his son Heydar Aliyev toured on Friday the military facilities of the Azerbaijan Air Force to observe the flyover of the new Bayraktar Akinci unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UAV).

At the modern UAV Academy, President Aliyev was briefed by Selcuk Bayraktar, Chief Technology Officer of Baykar Technology – the manufacturer of Akinci – about the facility’s all-in-one training and services grid equipped with cutting-edge technologies and equipment.

The president’s next stop was the runway for different types of UAVs at the military facility, where he first watched the take-off of the Akinci combat drone and then proceeded to the control station to practically fly the Turkish-made aerial device.

With its unique fuselage and wing design Bayraktar Akinci is a strategic class platform, which can carry various payloads. The top-notch UAV is equipped with dual artificial intelligence avionics, which supports signal processing, sensor fusion, and situational awareness in real time.

Bayraktar Akinci can conduct operations that are performed with fighter jets. It carries electronic support systems, dual satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, collision avoidance radar, and synthetic aperture radar. At a 40,000 feet (12.1 km) flight altitude, the drone hovers in the air 24 hours uninterruptedly.

Bayraktar Akinci can be used in air-to-ground and air-to-air attack missions as well. The payloads include various classes of smart munitions, guided bombs, as well as air-to-air and stand-off missiles.

The UAV made its combat debut in 2022 in Northern Iraq during the Turkish Armed Forces’ operations against terrorist organizations PKK/YPG.

Azerbaijan became the ninth country to add the cutting-edge UAV to its drone fleet. So far, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia are announced to have acquired Bayraktar Akinci from Türkiye.

Bayraktar Akinci adds to Azerbaijan’s rich UAV arsenal, which includes devices of domestic production, as well as those purchased from Türkiye and Israel.

During the Second Karabakh War, the Azerbaijan Armed Forces deployed military hardware purchased from Türkiye, including Bayraktar TB-2 drones, to gain an advantage over Armenia's occupying forces on the battlefield. The cutting-edge drone fleet of the Azerbaijani army, which includes Bayraktar TB2 next to Israeli-made UAVs and loitering munitions, is said to have destroyed more the 200 pieces of armor and artillery systems of Armenia during the hostilities.

Azerbaijan’s state budget allotted a total of AZN 6.421 billion or $3.77 billion for defense and national security in 2024. The funds will go towards building national defense, security and defense material-technical base, foreign intelligence, and border security services, as well as organizing events and measures of special defense designation.

This year’s defense allocations surpass the defense expenses for 2023 by more than AZN 367 million or around $216 million. Since 2018, Azerbaijan has increased the state budget’s national security and defense allotments twice from $1.85 billion to $3.77 billion.

During and after the 2020 war, President Aliyev revealed Azerbaijan’s intention to strengthen the national army based on the Turkish model but on a smaller scale.

In 2023, President Aliyev said Azerbaijan has been uninterruptedly accelerating the army building process, which was crucial in ending the Second Karabakh War of 2020 with a complete victory.