Turkish Defense Company Baykar Builds Drone Factory in Ukraine Amid Conflict

Baykar, a Turkish defense company, has begun the construction of a factory near Kyiv, which will employ approximately 500 people and produce either the TB2 or TB3 drone models, according to the company's CEO. Bayraktar drones, made in Turkey, have become globally recognized after their use by the Ukrainian military to counter Russian forces by destroying armored vehicles and artillery systems. 


Baykar has reportedly signed export contracts for its TB2 drone with 30 countries, including Ukraine, Ethiopia, Libya, and Azerbaijan since 2018, as per the SIPRI think tank. The CEO, Haluk Bayraktar, stated at the World Defense Show in Riyadh that the construction of the factory would take about 12 months, after which they would proceed with the installation of internal machinery, equipment, and organizational structure. 


He mentioned that the factory in Ukraine is large and plans to employ around 500 people. The annual production capacity is expected to be around 120 units, but it is still uncertain whether the TB2 or TB3 drone model will be the focus of production at the Ukrainian factory. Despite security concerns related to the ongoing conflict, Bayraktar assured that the plans were progressing fully and nothing could stop them. 

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He also confirmed that the company's plans to start production in Saudi Arabia within the next two years were on schedule. This follows an agreement in July to sell the Bayraktar Akinci, another type of drone, to Saudi Arabia, which Baykar described as the largest defense contract in Turkey's history. Other defense companies at the event also announced deals with Riyadh, including an agreement by U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin for Saudi Arabian companies to produce parts of its missile defense system. Bayraktar stated that the company plans to double the domestic production of the Akinci, which was at 36 units in 2023, while the output of TB2 would remain unchanged at 230 units. The company also aims to produce new models of the Kızılelma and the TB3 drones in the tens.

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