ASISGUARD, which operates in the Turkish defense and cyber security sectors, has completed the delivery of the SONGAR Armed Drone Systems to Nigeria. The delivery of SONGAR systems to the Nigerian Police Force was completed on September 15, 2022, according to an announcement shared by the company on its twitter account. Other details, such as the contract’s value and the number of drones delivered, have not been disclosed by the company.
The delivery fulfilled a contract signed between the Nigerian government and ASISGUARD last year at the SAHA EXPO-2021 Defense, Aviation, and Space Industry Fair in Turkey. Mustafa Barış Düzgün, the company’s general manager, stated at the time that SONGAR had received a lot of interest, particularly from African countries. Düzgün added that as a result of the company’s negotiations, they signed agreements with two African countries and were in the process of signing an agreement with a third African country. SONGAR has also been reported to have been exported to a country in the Asia-Pacific.
The Nigerian police are expected to use the newly acquired drones against armed gangs, which have become one of the country’s most significant problems, primarily operating in the states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Tarabe, and Kaduna. In Nigeria, the gang problem began with herder-farmer conflicts in 2008 and progressed to kidnapping and robberies due to economic issues and the government’s failure to take the necessary measures in time. Last year, 3,188 people were killed in clashes between armed gangs across the country.
SONGAR is known as the Turkish Armed Forces’ first drone system to be equipped with a machine gun and firing stabilization. The system’s primary goal is to detect threat elements from a secure distance or to neutralize previously detected targets without sending personnel into a dangerous area. According to the information provided by the company, the system has an ergonomic design to reduce the operator’s burden, it has a return home function if signal is lost, the ability to retake during flight, autonomous and manual control flight modes, and can be easily transported and deployed. The Ground Control Station can display and record drone video, flight telemetry data, and drone flight position on a moving map. Starting and stopping the video recording, as well as selecting and displaying a recorded video from the previous records, are all possible from the Ground Control Station.
The drone is armed with a machine gun mounted on the SONGAR stabilizing system. Until the operator gives the signal to fire, it carries out its functions autonomously and with multiple layers of security. 200 NATO standard 5.56x45mm rounds may be carried by the drone, which has a 3km operating range. The Songar can also be equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher, alongside its 5.56x45mm machine gun, which allows it to fire up to four grenades effectively. The in-question drone’s grenade launcher version can be fitted with various payloads according on the user’s requirements, such as mini-rockets with a maximum range of 2km or smoke bombs to disrupt protest gatherings or riots. Furthermore, work on integrating the high-power laser system EREM, which was developed collaboratively by TÜBİTAK BİLGEM, HAVELSAN, and Asisguard, into Songar is still ongoing. The Turkish defense industries ties with Nigeria also saw the DEARSAN shipyard recently begin construction of new offshore patrol vessels for the Nigerian Navy.