Ukrainian-Turkish military cooperation: strategic level achieved

For a long time, unmanned aerial systems have become a means of changing approaches to warfare. The use of UAVs reduces the risk of casualties, weapons become more intelligent and high-tech with the help of electronic and software tools. One of the most modern products of this type is the Turkish unmanned systems Bayraktar TB2, which have already shown their effectiveness and practically determined the way to victory in one of the recent military conflicts.

Therefore, it is natural that in October last year an agreement was reached between the Presidents of Ukraine and Turkey on the production in our country of a Turkish UAV Bayraktar, and in the future - a promising strike drone Akinci, which should be equipped with a turboprop engine AI-450 developed in Ukraine. Baykar Makina and Ukrainian Ivchenko Progress integrated these engines into the Akinci platform, demonstrating a good example of cooperation reaching the final stage. Its first test flight was in December 2019. It should be understood that this heavy-duty UAV, which has a takeoff weight of 5.5 tons, can reach a height of 12 thousand meters and has a payload of 1,300 kg, which says: Turkey and Ukraine were able to make a very serious breakthrough in the creation of unmanned systems. That is, in the so-called "technological race of the future" they do not trail behind, but, on the contrary - occupy a leading position in the system of paradigm transformation of aviation technology in favor of unmanned aerial vehicles.

In general, what happened in October last year we can actually call a major breakthrough, as for the first time in its history, Ukraine signed an agreement with a NATO country on the joint production of high-tech military equipment on a large scale, that means achievement a strategic partnership. In addition, a Framework Military Agreement was signed, which defines the areas of cooperation, principles of cooperation, security regime of classified information, the procedure for exchanging intelligence, legal regulation of specialists fielded by each party, compensation for possible losses, dispute resolution and more. That is: the parties actually agreed to trust each other.

In addition to these projects, there are others, for example, it is worth mentioning the plans for the serial production of space technology, anti-tank missiles, construction of warships and all types of turbine engines, and other types of military products. This is a truly strategic partnership, and it is equal and mutually beneficial, because Ukraine does not look like a "poor relative" at all, but rather – the countries entered into mutual exchange of technologies developed in both countries, which will make them stronger.

Indeed, the defense industries of Ukraine and Turkey complement each other, and we are already seeing that the two countries have achieved both strategic and economic benefits through such projects. And this is just the beginning and it is very important to increase the number of projects that are actually implemented in such important strategic areas and should benefit our country and friendly countries and allow Ukraine to strengthen the presence of domestic technologies in the global aviation market.

According to the agreement, the technology is exchanged: "if the products are Turkish, then the localization of production takes place in Ukraine, if the products are Ukrainian, then the localization is in Turkey." This is an honest principle and there should be no claims against the Turkish side, especially since they are ready to invest their own funds in the future plant. The problem we have, more precisely in our bureaucracy – they like for any reason to “pause” or “wait”. In the conditions of hostilities, it is not only inappropriate but also dangerous, which requires accelerating the implementation of projects and talk not only about Bayraktar, but others.

In any case, it can be stated that these projects have demonstrated the technological capacity of the defense sectors of our countries, now it is up to government officials whose task is to deepen this movement and ensure a further smooth main level of bilateral cooperation. Both countries will benefit from this, for our state the advantages of such cooperation will be the increase of combat capabilities of the Armed Forces due to high-tech weapons, strengthening the innovative development of the national defense industry, the presence of Ukrainian technologies in the world aviation market and guaranteed employment of our specialists.

And, perhaps most importantly, building Ukraine's defense capabilities through cooperation with Turkey is our argument against aggression, fundamental to our future victory, which makes it essential to maximize existing and, I hope, new projects, together with Turkish allies and partners.