Kyrgyzstan To Procure AKINCI Drones From Turkey After Purchasing Bayraktar TB2s

On October 12, 2022, Kyrgyzstan National Security Committee Chairman Kamchibek Tashiev and his accompanying delegation visited the Özdemir Bayraktar National Technology Center in Istanbul. During his visit, Kamchibek Tashiev met with Baykar Chairman of the Board of Directors, Selçuk Bayraktar, and General Manager Haluk Bayraktar, and he published a series of images of the Bayraktar AKINCI in its A and B configurations, with the words “AKINCI is ours! Thanks to our brotherly people!” With this Kyrgyzstan was revealed to be the company’s newest customer.

Kyrgyzstan National Security Committee Chairman Kamchibek Tashiev in front of an AKINCI drone at the Özdemir Bayraktar National Technology Center in Istanbul / From the Facebook account of the Chairman of the Kyrgyzstan National Security Committee Kamchibek Tashiev

The Kyrgyzstan National Security State Committee and the Baykar company did not publicly disclose how many AKINCI Kyrgyzstan will procure, what configurations these drones will be in, or the cost of the agreement. Baykar has signed export contracts for its Bayraktar AKINCI drones with four countries. Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and now Kyrgyzstan are known customers, while it appears highly likely that the other unknown country is either Qatar or Ukraine.

Kyrgyzstan National Security Committee Chairman Kamchibek Tashiev with A and B configurations of the Akıncı drone at Özdemir Bayraktar National Technology Center in Istanbul / From the Facebook account of the Chairman of the Kyrgyzstan National Security Committee Kamchibek Tashiev

The Bayraktar TB2 is already in use by the Kyrgyzstan Armed Forces. General Kamchibek Tashiev, the deputy prime minister and head of the state committee in charge of the country’s security, declared in October 2021 that the government had acquired Bayraktar TB2s from Turkey. A little more than two months after General Kamchibek Tashiev’s remarks, Kyrgyzstan’s TB2s had reached the country.

In Kyrgyzstan, these systems were employed for the first time as part of the “Kalkan-2022” (Shield) training exercise that took place in March. Later, in September 2022, Kyrgyzstan opened a new base for TB2s, and Kamchibek Tashiev participated in the opening ceremony. During the opening ceremony of the new Bayraktar TB2 base, Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov stated, “Ensuring the security of the borders of Kyrgyzstan is one of the priorities of the state. In the future, work will continue to improve the living and working conditions of border guards.”

A Bayraktar TB2 belonging to the Border Union Services of the State Committee of National Security of Kyrgyzstan / From the official website of the Kyrgyz Presidency

Kyrgyzstan is expected to use these vehicles, along with Bayraktar TB2s, primarily in reconnaissance and surveillance operations along the Tajikistan border. Kyrgyzstan, which has frequent border disputes with its neighbor Tajikistan, will likely also benefit from Akinci’s combat use. Border disputes from the Soviet era in and around the Fergana Valley, which encompasses the region where Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan meet, have not been resolved for more than 30 years. The most recent border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan occurred on September 14-20, 2022, and approximately 100 people died on both sides of the conflict. Kyrgyzstan also employed Bayraktar TB2s in these clashes to combat Tajik armored vehicles.

Baykar Defense states that the Akıncı drone has a wingspan of 20 meters (66 feet) and a height of 13.1 meters (4.1 meters), can fly up to 40 thousand feet, can stay in the air for 24 hours, has a take-off weight of 6 tons, a payload capacity of 5 tons, and a maximum cruise speed of 150 to 195 knots. Two alternative configurations—A and B—are available for Bayraktar Akıncı. The difference between Akıncı B and Akıncı A is primarily the engine power. With two 450 HP engines, Bayraktar AKINCI A has a total of 900 HP, whereas Akıncı B has 1500 HP total engine power with two 750 HP engines. Baykar is also developing the 1900 HP AKINCI C, which has two 950 HP engines. Additionally, the Bayraktar AKINCI C is anticipated to make its first flight in the near future.

A Bayraktar Akıncı SİHA (UAV) at Teknofest 2019 / Image Author: Talha Işık / Copyright: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The aircraft has advanced artificial intelligence capabilities and can carry EO/IR cameras, ASELSAN’s domestically produced AESA radar, a Beyond Line of Sight (satellite) connection, and electronic support systems. It will also be able to collect data by recording data from the aircraft’s sensors and cameras with the help of its three artificial intelligence computers. Because of the Akıncı’s increased carrying capacity, it can carry guided bombs that would otherwise be too large for these drones to transport. The TB2 can only carry four MAM-Ls, whereas the Akıncı can carry up to 24 MAM-Ls. The Akıncı is rated to carry domestically produced munitions including the MAM-L, MAM-C, L-UMTAS, Bozok, MK-81, MK-82, MK-83, Wing Assisted Guidance Kit (KGK)-MK-82, Gökdoğan, Bozdoğan, SOM-A, UMTAS, L-LUMTAS, and CİRİT. The Akıncı offers a significant increase in combat capabilities and payload capacity when compared to other drones like the Bayraktar TB2 and TAI Anka.