Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar starts building factory in Ukraine

UCAV manufactured by the Turkish company Baykar. Credit: twintyre / Shutterstock.com

Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar has begun the construction of a factory in Ukraine, the country’s Minister for Strategic Industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin confirmed on national television. 

“We are talking about production on the territory of Ukraine. This is the same large “Bayraktariv” plant, which was negotiated several years ago,” Kamyshin explained on July 10, 2023. “They began to build the plant on the ground, not on memoranda. We have moved on to real steps.” 

Following the announcement, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian media as publicly criticizing Turkey for giving Ukraine Bayraktar military drones. 

“It is very important that, unlike a number of countries of the so-called collective West, Turkey maintains a dialogue with us and, moreover, maintains it at a high and top level. Appropriate steps, as was emphasized, can only lead to negative consequences,” he added.  

The Baykar TB2 drones played a crucial role in Ukraine’s defense during the initial weeks of the invasion, successfully combating Russian armored and anti-aircraft systems. 

These drones have not only enhanced precision air-strike capabilities for Ukraine but also served as a diplomatic instrument, contributing to Turkey’s ascendance on the global stage. 

According to the Turkish newspaper Yeni Akit, Baykar obtained the license to produce combat drones in Ukraine on June 22, 2023. Its CEO, Haluk Bayraktar, expects drone production to start in 2025 with an estimated project investment of around $95 million. 

Before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv and Ankara signed a deal to open a Baykar factory in Ukraine on February 3, 2022. 

Later the same year, after the outbreak of the war, the company declared that it would never sell its drones to Russia and acquired land in Ukraine with the intent of establishing a drone manufacturing facility.  

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