On 27 September, Turkmenistan held a military parade in Kopet Dag, the border area between Turkmenistan and Iran in the southern portion of the capital Ashgabat, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its independence following the fall of the Soviet Union. The commemorative celebrations began with a ceremony at Ashgabat’s Independence Monument, which included President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan.
The ceremony was attended by government leaders, heads of military and law enforcement agencies, representatives of public institutions, honorary elders, students, citizens, and visitors to the capital. The Turkmen army’s land, air, and navy forces marched in a formal parade, and new weaponry from the army’s arsenal were displayed.
Apart from the T-90 and T-72M tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and multiple launch rocket systems that have been displayed at the military ceremony in the past, there were other systems that were displayed for the first time. Some of these include the Serbian Lazar 3 8×8 multipurpose armored combat vehicle, UAE Titan-D 4×4 armored personnel carrier vehicles, Russian New Generation 6×6 armored vehicles, KamAZ Typhoon vehicles, A-29 Super Tucano warplanes, C-27J Spartan tactical military transport aircraft, Italian light combat aircraft M-346s, Selex Falco UAVs, and Bayraktar TB2 drones.
Bayraktar TB2s were not previously reported as having been delivered to Turkmenistan. Following the participation of Baykar Defense’s Bayraktar TB2s in the military parade, Baykar Defense posted a photo of the TB2s on its official Twitter account with the caption, “We commemorate the 30th anniversary of the independence of the friendly and brotherly country Turkmenistan.” It was established that TB2 was also sold to Turkmenistan after this message was published.
Although it is unknown how many TB2s were supplied to Turkmenistan as part of the arrangement or how much the deal cost, two Bayraktar TB2s with tail numbers T191 and T192 appear in the cortege, as shown in parade footage broadcast on Altyn Asyr TV. These TB2s are armed with Roketsan MAM-L and MAM-C laser-guided smart munitions produced by ROKETSAN, along with a Hensoldt ARGOS-II HDT imaging system from Germany, rather than the Aselsan CATS imaging system. It also appears to feature a three-bladed motor.
Baykar CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Selçuk Bayraktar said at a ceremony held on 29 August, “There is great interest in our unmanned aerial vehicles from all over the world. Especially after the Idlib and Azerbaijan-Karabakh operations, this interest has increased a lot. In fact, ever since the Bayraktar TB2 took part in the Idlib Operation (Operation Spring Shield), The Olive Branch Operation, The Euphrates Shield Operation, and finally the operation in Azerbaijan, there has been intense interest from the world. I can even say that we have difficulties in meeting the demands for Bayraktar TB2’s from time to time. In this way, Baykar earns more than 70 percent of its revenues from exports. There are more than 10 contracts signed so far.”
With the addition of Turkmenistan to the list of countries to which TB2 is exported, the countries to which the Bayraktar TB2 has been exported so far includes Ukraine, Qatar, Poland, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. While an agreement on the sale of Bayraktar TB2s is now being worked out with Iraq, while Albania, Latvia, Morocco, and Hungary are among the countries where an agreement could be signed.