Turkey will supply Hurkus turboprop light attack/trainer aircraft and Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as armoured vehicles to Niger, according to Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Erdogan spoke to his Nigerien counterpart Mohamed Bazoum last week. According to Turkey’s Directorate of Communications on 18 November, Erdogan stated that “the TB2 UCAVs, Hurkus aircrafts and armoured vehicles, which Niger would procure from Turkey, would boost the capacities of its military and security forces.”
In an interview with CNN Turk on 11 November, Turkish Aerospace CEO Temel Kotil said the first Hurkus will be delivered to its first export customer by mid-2022. In April, Kotil said an unnamed country was close to signing a deal for a dozen Hurkus-C – it is not clear which variant of the aircraft Niger will be getting.
“The sale of Hurkus marks Turkey’s first military aircraft export that was designed and manufactured entirely with domestic resources,” Kotil said earlier this month.
The Hurkus is a tandem two-seat, low-wing, single-engine turboprop aircraft that was designed as a new-generation trainer as well as a platform for performing light-attack and armed reconnaissance combat missions. The Hurkus-A is the basic version that can be used by non-military customers while the Hurkus-B is a more advanced version with more sophisticated avionics.
The Hurkus-C is an armed variant that can be used for close air support. It is fitted with a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor and can carry 1 500 kg of weaponry. It has been seen fitted with L-UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles, Cirit laser-guided rockets and external fuel tanks. It will also be able to carry bombs, 12.7 mm machineguns and 20 mm cannon pods.
The Hurkus-A first flew in August 2013 and the aircraft is in production for the Turkish military. Powered by a PT6A-68T turboprop, the aircraft has a maximum cruise speed of more than 570 km/h, an endurance of over four hours and a range of nearly 1 500 km.
Turkey has racked up multiple sales of its Bayraktar TB2 UAV, including to Ukraine, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Poland. Last month it emerged that Turkey had negotiated sales to Morocco and Ethiopia.
The Bayraktar TB2 has a cruising speed of 130 km/h with an operational altitude of 7 300 metres and 27 hours endurance. The 12 metre wingspan aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 650 kg and can carry a 150 kg payload.
The Bayraktar TB2 is used operationally by the Turkish Armed Forces and is able to employ MAM and MAM-L guided munitions and UMTAS missiles.
The equipment sales to Niger come a month after Nigeria ordered two new offshore patrol vessels from Turkish shipyard Dearsan.