Greece orders 50 Turkish drones, despite increased tension

A private drone manufacturer in Turkey has won a contract to sell 50 miniature tactical drones to the Greek Ministry of Defence, despite increased regional tension between the two neighbours over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey’s maritime borders.

According to an announcement by the Assuva Savunma Sanayi Company on Tuesday, two of its Proton Elic RB-128 drones were sent to Greece and passed the required acceptance tests. This is the company’s first export deal to a country which is both within the European Union and NATO. The same drone has been sold to a number of other countries, including China and Sri Lanka, as well as to the Turkish armed forces.

The tactical drone can be used for search and rescue operations, and has a thermal camera which can capture images from a distance of 1 kilometre and up to 50 metres underground. It is thus capable of detecting underground bunkers, explosives, land mines and even chemical materials.

Turkey’s domestic arms industry has made major strides in recent years, and its drones in use with the Turkish armed forces have provided invaluable aerial support in military operations in northern Syria, and in Libya in support of the UN-backed government.

Such drones’ operational effectiveness was hailed by the British Defence Minister earlier this month, who called them “game-changing”.

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