Angola getting Aksungur UAVs from Turkey


Angola has ordered Aksungur medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), becoming the first confirmed African nation to do so.

Production of the aircraft has started, according to TAI (TUSAS) General Manager for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Omer Yildiz. In an interview with CNN Turk that was reported by SavunmaSanayiST, he said the Aksungur has been sold to export customers Kyrgyzstan and Angola but deliveries have not yet begun.

Yildiz revealed that eight Aksungur UAVs have been manufactured so far, and another six are on the production line, and the rate of production is increasing from one every three months to one a month.

The Angolan deal appears to go back to 2021 when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in October that year Angola had asked to acquire Turkish UAVs and armoured personnel carriers following an earlier visit by Angolan President Joao Lourenco to Turkey. In October 2022, the Angolan government approved a $93 million contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries for UAVs, with the acquisition moving through Angolan public corporation Simportex.

Algeria was earlier reported as the first African export customer for the Aksungur, with Algerian media in October last year stating that the North African nation would acquire six of the aircraft, but this has not been officially confirmed.

TAI describes the Aksungur as being able to carry out day and night Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and strike missions with electro-optical/infrared and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payloads, and a variety of air-to-ground weapons. Three hardpoints can carry 750 kg of weaponry, such as TEBER-81 and TEBER-82 laser-guided bombs, and L-UMTAS, MAM-L, Cirit, and MAM-C guided munitions.

The aircraft is powered by two PD-170 twin-turbocharged diesel engines enabling long endurance operations up to 40 000 feet. An optional satellite communications payload can allow beyond line of sight operations. The Aksungur is 12.5 metres long, has a wingspan of 24.2 metres and endurance of 50 hours (without weapons).

A maritime patrol version of the UAV is available, and this is fitted with a synthetic aperture radar, Automatic Identification System (AIS), sonobuoy pod, and magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) boom. TAI is also working on fitting a lightweight torpedo to the Aksungur.

The Aksungur was developed from the combat-proven Anka UAV and has been in Turkish Navy service since October 2021.