MILAN — Abu Dhabi-based defense conglomerate Edge Group has finalized the integration of its Desert Sting guided bomb onto the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone, signaling a new wave of cooperation between Emirati and Turkish defense firms.
“We have reached a significant milestone in our partnership with Baykar, with the successful integration of our advanced Desert Sting 16 precision-guided munition onto the TB2 UAV,” Edge wrote in a Jan 17. post published on the X platform, formerly Twitter.
Footage was also published showing a test flight of the DS-16 being loaded on the Turkish drone.
In the video, the TB2 can be seen taking off from a Baykar facility, dropping one of the munitions while in flight and landing at nighttime. The footage suggests that the flight was conducted above the Gulf of Saros, off the coast of Turkey.
The development is part of a strategic agreement Edge and Baykar have signed, which seeks to further their collaboration in the security sector. The two companies also have plans to integrate other payloads on different Baykar vehicles in the future.
At the Dubai Airshow in November, Faisal Al Bannai, chairman of the board of directors at Edge, told Defense News that these ambitions could include the TB3, which is nearing serial production.
“We are [also] in discussions with Baykar to integrate our missiles on some of their drones and to possibly acquire the TB3 model eventually,” he said, referring to the naval variant of the TB2.
Previously known as an importer of military equipment, the UAE government has doubled down on efforts to reduce its dependence on foreign defense imports seeking to build-up national manufacturing capabilities.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.