The Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovakia Jaro Nad met with Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of the Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar, to discuss the potential acquisition of a number of TB2 armed drones.
The Slovak armed forces already operate a number of small observation drones, notably five Skylark drones from the Israeli manufacturer Elbit. But the acquisition of armed drones would be a significant capacity leap for the country.
Currently, the only air combat capability of the Slovak Air Force comes from 11 MiG-29 fighters upgraded to operate alongside NATO allies. The country is also expecting 14 Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons ordered in 2018 for around $1.6 billion. Their delivery is expected by 2024.
After years of quasi-monopoly of the US-based manufacturer General Atomics and its Reaper and Predator armed drones, the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 effectively disrupted the market, illustrating itself during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. In both cases, it proves itself as an attritable solution to destroy more critical assets, such as armored vehicles, anti-aircraft systems, or even tanks.