Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar begins construction of plant in Ukraine
Turkish defense company Baykar has started building a factory near Kyiv that will employ around 500 people and where it will manufacture either its TB2 or TB3 drone models, the company's chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday.
Turkish-made Bayraktar drones have gained prominence globally after being used by Ukraine's military to thwart Russian forces by destroying armoured vehicles and artillery systems.
Baykar has said it has signed export deals for its TB2 drone with 30 countries. These include Ukraine, Ethiopia, Libya and Azerbaijan since 2018, according to think tank SIPRI.
"Our factory is being built… we need about 12 months to finish construction and then we will move on to internal machinery, equipment, and organizational structure," Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar said on the sidelines of the World Defense Show in Riyadh.
"The factory in Ukraine is a big one, we are planning to employ around 500 people," he said.
Bayraktar said that capacity would total around 120 units every year, but said it was still not clear whether production at the Ukrainian factory would focus on the TB2 or TB3 drone model.
Asked if security issues related to the ongoing conflict would pose a concern for the plant, he said that plans were "fully moving ahead" and that "nothing" could halt them.
As reported, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Turkish company Baykar Makina entered into an agreement on the construction of a service center in Ukraine for the repair and maintenance of unmanned aerial vehicles.