ANKARA, Turkey — The Anka, a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone developed by Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) has made its debut missionary flight, Turkish aerospace officials said.

They said t The Anka flied flew on Feb. 5 in Turkey’s eastern province of Elazig. The drone reached an altitude of 19,000 feet and successfully carried out a four-hour exploration and observation flight.

The choice of location for the debut flight was strategic, according to Deputy Defense Minister Suay Alpa. "[We expect]… all elements of the defense industry will support and strengthen this struggle," Alpay said, . He was referring to renewed violence in the country’s eastern and southeastern regions between the Turkish military and separatists Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

TAI started its work on the Anka in 2004. In 2013, the company won a contract from the Turkish government to supply 10 Ankas and their ground control stations.

In 2014, military and defense officials moved ahead with a plan to add satcom capabilities to the Anka, while also bringing together a task force that would design and develop an indigenous engine for the drone. That drone, the Anka S will be delivered by 2017.

The Anka is TAI's first indigenous design in aerospace.

In December, Turkey's local industry has successfully tested an armed, tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The tactical UAV tested for armed flight is the Bayraktar produced jointly by two Turkish private companies, Baykar and Kale Kalip.

In its first armed flight test, the Bayraktar was equipped with the "mini smart ammunition" system developed by the state-controlled missile maker, Roketsan.

The company launched the system at the IDEF 2013 defense exhibition in Istanbul. The mini smart ammunition system has a range of eight kilometers.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

More In Industry