Turkey's first national unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has completed its test flight and is ready for mass production.
The first domestically manufactured UAV, the Anka (Phoenix), completed its test program with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in operations against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Mass production of the Anka is expected to start soon.
Final test flights were made on Tuesday. The Anka, which departed from the base of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara, flew towards Konya non-stop for 18 hours. The Anka had its first test flight in December, 2010. It has so far flown more than 140 hours and reached an altitude of 26,000 feet.
According to the information obtained by Today's Zaman, the five Anka vehicles that TAI currently has, will be deployed in the province of Batman in April and be used in counterterrorism operations.
The Anka, originally planned to be ready for use in early 2012, will be used in operations against the PKK and assisting the military in locating terrorists. With a 56-foot wingspan, the ability to fly at a speed of 75 knots per hour and the capability of reaching an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters), the drone is expected to mostly monitor the activities of PKK militants who enter Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.
The Anka UAV is able to fly for 24 hours at a time. Turkish engineers have said they are confident the Anka will become part of the country's arsenal. It is expected to replace the Israeli-made Heron UAVs. A total of 43 countries have now developed UAVs, which have proven to be extremely effective in gathering intelligence.