ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish Aerospace Industries is developing the country’s first indigenous subsonic drone, a company official revealed.
The subsonic drone could either be named Goksungur or Simsek. The Turkish word “gok” translates to “sky” in English, and “Simsek” to “thunder.”
The TAI official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the press, said the company wants to develop a supersonic version during later phases of the program.
The drone in development is expected to have a maximum speed of Mach 0.7 and to make its maiden flight in February 2023.
It’s being developed to perform fire support and intelligence gathering missions at a high altitude of 50,000-60,000 feet.
One idea under consideration, the official said, is to use the future system in combined operations with the Aksungur, the largest UAV manufactured by TAI. The first deliveries of the Aksungur to the Turkish military took place in October 2021.
The Aksungur performs long-term surveillance, signals intelligence, maritime patrol and combat missions. It has a wingspan of 24 meters (79 feet) and a payload capacity of 750 kilograms (1,653 pounds). It is equipped with the CIRIT mistsile, developed by state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan.
The Aksungur could one day launch a smaller version of the drone currently in development, according to the TAI official.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.