Kyrgyzstan has announced the purchase of an unspecified amount of Bayraktar TB2 combat drones for its armed forces.
The purchase was announced on October 22, 2021 by Kamchybek Tashiev, the country’s deputy prime minister. A day later, Kyrgyzstan’s president, Sadyr Japarov, confirmed the purchase in a public speech.
“We’re not buying drones to go to war with someone. We will buy drones to ensure the country’s security,” Japarov said in a press conference, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
According to Tashiev, the country has also ordered a number of Orlan-10s, which are small reconnaissance drones built in Russia. He stated that both types of aircraft will be received “soon”.
Bayraktar TB-2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) drone capable of carrying a wide range of armament, including precision-guided munitions. The aircraft was used extensively by Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020.
In April and May 2021, Kyrgyzstan was involved in border clashes with neighboring Tajikistan, when unresolved territorial disputes between the countries turned violent. The clashes left 55 people dead, hundreds injured and thousands more were displaced.
“We didn’t have even one aircraft to put into the air during the conflict. Now, we will buy both aircraft and UAVs,” president Japarov said in his speech.
Kyrgyz Air Force operates several Mil Mi-8 helicopters and Antonov An-26 light transport planes. Nominally, it has an additional four Aero L-39 Albatros light attack aircraft and two Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters, although their operational status is unknown.