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Bangladesh to buy Turkey's Bayraktar TB2 combat drone

Ankara's unmanned combat aerial vehicles have been effective in Ukraine's defence against Russian attacks
A Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drone is on view during a presentation at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Siauliai, Lithuania, on 6 July 2022 (AFP)
A Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drone on view at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Siauliai, Lithuania, on 6 July 2022 (AFP)

Bangladesh is set to buy the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 armed drones, which have been used effectively by Ukraine to fend off the Russian invasion, according to the Bangladeshi daily newspaper Prothom Alo.

Prothom Alo reported on Tuesday that Dhaka signed an agreement with the manufacturer to purchase the unmanned combat aerial vehicles, quoting Turkey’s ambassador to Bangladesh, Mustafa Osman Turan.

“I'm not in a position to give details, but I can confirm that there is cooperation between Bangladesh and Turkey regarding drones," Turan said

The two countries have had a defence cooperation deal since 1981, and Turkey has supplied Bangladesh with light armoured vehicles, artillery shells, and a multiple-launch rocket system.

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TB2s have a proven track record of success in conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, yet they had never been deployed against an army with sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities and air defence systems until the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

So far they have proved themselves effective in combating Russian troops deployed deep inside Ukrainian territory.

Middle East Eye reported that a Bayraktar TB2 was used by Ukraine to hit two oil depots well inside Russian territory in April, taking the war behind the front lines and embarrassing Russia's air defences. 

Baykar, the Turkish manufacturer of the drones, has reportedly established a production facility in the UAE and President Vladimir Putin wanted to set up a similar facility in Russia.

According to CNN Turk, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told colleagues at a top party meeting on Monday that Putin had approached him during a recent meeting in Tehran to suggest a deal with Baykar to produce its attack drones.

A Baykar spokesperson denied that the company had established a factory in the UAE and declined to comment on the Russian proposal. 

However, a source with knowledge of the issue told MEE that Baykar was indeed in the process of establishing a production line in the UAE.