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(MIL) TURKEY'S DEPENDENCY ON FOREIGN MANUFACTURERS OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES ENDS, NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS.

ANKARA, Jan 4, 2011 (TUR) -- Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said Tuesday that Turkey's dependency on foreign manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles has ended.

Turkish Defense Industry Undersecretariat and Turkey's Vestel Defense Corporation has signed a protocol Tuesday under a project to develop a tactical unmanned aerial vehicle for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

Speaking at the signature ceremony for the protocol in Ankara, Gonul said that unmanned aerial vehicles changed the way armies of the world moved.

The TSK has been using unmanned aerial vehicles for the past two decades. Currently, the TSK uses 168 mini unmanned aerial vehicles, Gonul noted.

I am happy to express that, with the mini and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles and ANKA unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Turkey's dependency on foreign sources for the supply of the unmanned aerial vehicles has ended, Gonul also said.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Undersecretary of the Turkish Defense Industry, Murad Bayar, said that Vestel's product was ready for the use of the TSK.

Vestel invested 25 million USD for the project prior to today's protocol. Their product is what we need. However, it will be developed further, Bayar said.

Director General of Vestel Defense Corporation, Aziz Sipahi, said that the project whose protocol was signed on Tuesday was a milestone for Vestel.

Vestel Defense Corporation was established in 2003 and began working on unmanned aerial vehicles in 2005, Sipahi said.

Our unmanned aerial vehicle "Karayel" will be able to fly 20 hours continuously at an altitude of 22,000 feet. The vehicle will be able to carry up to 80 kilograms of useful load, Sipahi said.

We want to develop "Karayel" so that it could be exported to various countries, Sipahi also said.

Following the remarks of officials, the protocol was signed.

(SOL-CE)

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Anadolu (Eskisehir, Turkey)
Date:Jan 4, 2011
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