Turkey’s military reported that failures with Bayraktar drones hampered operations

The report was never made public and the problems were swept under the rug by the order of Turkish President Erdogan

The Turkish military discovered systematic failures and troubles with drones that were domestically manufactured by Baykar, whose owners include President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, classified documents reveal.

According to a priority message secretly communicated to the General Staff by the 2nd Army command on July 15, 2016, the Bayraktar drone systems produced by Baykar had often been hit with problems, hampering counterterrorism operations in Turkey’s Southeast. The message stated that ground data terminals which are part of the Bayraktar system often malfunction and that the problem resumes shortly after they return to service after repair.

The secret report detailed several field operations that were negatively impacted by the failure of Bayraktar drones. In one case recorded on June 26, 2016, the military was conducting operations in Hakkari province’s Yuksekova district, and the ground data terminals failed to communicate with the drones. A team of technicians from Savronik, a Turkish defense contractor, and the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) were brought to Yuksekova to repair the terminal. They failed to fix it and instead took the antenna system back to the service center in Eskisehir province. The military was later told that the antenna interface board was faulty and needed replacement, which would take 45 days.

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