SAHA EXPO 2022: Turkey’s New DELİ Kamikaze Drone Unveiled

A new kamikaze drone has been developed by the Turkish defense industry. The DELİ Kamikaze drone, developed in collaboration with TİTRA Technology, a Turkish company that works in the fields of unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and cyber security, and TÜBİTAK SAGE (Defense Industry Research and Development Institute), which is affiliated with Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council, was displayed for the first time at the SAHA EXPO International Defense and Aerospace Fair, which took place on October 25-28. TÜBİTAK SAGE Director Gürcan Okumuş and TİTRA General Manager Dr. Davut Ylmaz attended the new kamikaze drone’s launch ceremony.

DELİ is a kamikaze drone which was developed to diversify the loitering munitions that the Turkish Armed Forces have recently begun to use on the battlefield. The disposable vehicle, which can operate day and night, is intended for use in war and conflict zones against ground and sea targets, radar, and communication systems. DELİ, which means “mad” in Turkish, gets its name from the members of the Ottoman Empire’s light cavalry.

Developed in partnership with TITRA Technology and TÜBİTAK SAGE, Turkey’s newest kamikaze drone, DELİ (Yusuf Çetiner)

According to TİTRA Technology the DELİ handheld fixed-wing small unmanned aerial vehicle is reportedly capable of target search and classification with artificial intelligence. It can operate fully autonomously and fly in swarms when necessary. DELİ swarms can make independent decisions and act in coordination within the swarm, share tasks, as well as detect and destroy targets. DELİ, which can be launched with a catapult system or by hand, is easily transported and ready for use in less than 15 minutes thanks to its modular structure. TÜBİTAK SAGE developed a warhead weighing 3.1 kilograms with a high impact radius for the kamikaze drone, which has a maximum take-off weight of 13 kg. DELİ, with its fixed wing design, can stay in the air for 75 minutes and has an operational range of 85 kilometers. DELİ has a stated operational altitude of 150-500 meters and a cruising speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The DELİ kamikaze drone exhibited for the first time at SAHA EXPO 2022 / Photo by Yusuf Çetiner

In an interview TİTRA Technology General Manager Davut Yılmaz told AA that the DELİ Project, which began around 2 years ago, has reached the conclusion of the testing and that they aim to reach a level where the drones can be added to the inventory of the armed forces by the end of the year. TİTRA Technology plans to produce 250 DELİ fixed wing kamikaze drones and 10 Alpin unmanned helicopters per year in the new facility it will establish with the incentive it will receive from the state once all the tests are finished. The aforementioned investment will cost 45 million 650 thousand liras, or roughly 2.5 million dollars, and it will create 100 jobs.