Iran’s Loss Is Turkey’s Gain! Akinci UAV, That Located Ebrahim Raisi’s Chopper, Scores 2.5 Million Hits

The Turkish Akinci Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)—aggressively being pitched by Ankara for export—has shot to fame by participating in an unexpected mission. It is following the lead taken by the Turkish TB2 UAV, which demonstrated its lethal combat capability in the Azerbaijan-Armenia war in 2020.

Saudi Eyes F-35 Fighters In Landmark Defense Deal As US Looks To Push China Out Of Kingdom

As soon as the crash of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, was reported, the Turkish Akinci UAV was called in for the search and rescue operation along with a Cougar-type helicopter equipped with high-level night vision capability.

The Turkish Ministry of National Defense announced on Platform X: “Based on the request made by the Iranian authorities through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an Akıncı UAV and a night vision Cougar type helicopter were assigned to participate in the search and rescue activities of the crashed helicopter of the President of Iran and his delegation.”

The UAV patrolled the skies of Iran for hours, scanning for potential evidence. In almost no time, the Akinci UAV became the most tracked aircraft in the world, with over 2.5 million people following its movement online and watching the live stream of the drone’s operations. According to reports swirling on social media, the drone was at the job for more than seven hours.

The Iranian authorities reportedly asked Turkey to dispatch the UAV due to its cutting-edge monitoring capability and ability to operate in rough weather. Some experts said that Iran did not hesitate to ask for help because every moment was crucial in locating the crashed chopper, and they did not have a drone in their arsenal that could have done the job as well as the Akinci did.

The Turkish Bayraktar Akinci drone detected a source of heat early on the morning of May 20 that eventually led to the wreckage of the helicopter carrying the Iranian President. The coordinates of the location were immediately communicated to Iranian officials, and Iran finally found the wreckage.

Although the tragic crash led to the death of the Iranian President and Foreign Minister, the Turkish drone has caught the attention of the world with its cutting-edge capabilities. Some Turkish netizens tracking the developments went on to say that despite possessing an inventory of lethal drones, Iran had to ask Turkey to locate the wreckage.

Via: X

Following the completion of its designated mission, the Akıncı delineated Turkey’s national symbol—a star and crescent — during its flight path above Lake Van (as seen above).

Military watchers on social media believe that the drone has effectively come to represent Turkish pride and the might of the country’s defense industrial sector. This was also visible in Turkish military bloggers posting comical memes on social media, glorifying their Akinci drone and mocking Iran.

Via: X


The Akinci success comes after another Turkish drone, the Baykar TB2 UAV, which shot to fame with its stunning combat performance in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of 2020 that led to a resounding victory for Azeri forces flying Turkish drones and destroying scores of Armenian artillery, armor, bunkers, and air defense systems, as seen in several videos posted online.

The TB2 was soon acquired by other states and deployed to multiple war zones—in Ethiopia and Ukraine, for example—where it has been highly successful. The drones have since become poster heroes of Turkey’s drone manufacturing industry. Customers have already lined up to buy the drones, which are now considered among the best and most advanced in the world. More than 30 states are known to have acquired the drone.

Turkish manufacturer Bayraktar is also looking to export the Akinci drone, the newest and one of the most capable to come out of Turkish production lines.

Interest In Akinci Might Grow After Iran Mission

Named after the Turkish word for ‘Raider,’ Bayraktar Akinci is a high-altitude, long-endurance drone that can be armed with weapons. The drone is equipped with a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.

The combat drone is 12.2 meters long, 4.1 meters wide, and 20 meters high. Its flight ceiling is 40,000 feet (12,192 meters), its maximum cargo capacity is 1,350 kilograms, and its takeoff weight is 5,500 kilograms.

“Bayraktar Akinci is equipped with dual artificial intelligence avionics, which supports real-time signal processing, sensor fusion, and situational awareness. It carries electronic support systems, dual satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, collision avoidance radar, and synthetic aperture radar,” reads the specifications of Akinci drones by the Turkish company.

Baykar Bayraktar Akıncı - Wikipedia
Baykar Bayraktar Akıncı – Wikipedia

According to Baykar, the Akıncı can strike targets on land and in the air. It can also fly higher and stay in the air longer than Turkey’s current drone fleet.

According to Baykar, the Bayraktar Akinci can perform maneuvers similar to fighter jets and carry a range of payloads. The drone has dual satellite communication systems, electronic support systems, air-to-air radar, collision avoidance radar, and synthetic aperture radar. It can effectively launch the Stand-Off Missile (SOM), an air-to-surface cruise missile with an extended range developed by Roketsan.

Additionally, the manufacturer recently announced the integration of Roketsan MAM-L and MAM-T guided bombs onto the drone, further bolstering its lethality in combat. These bombs would allow the drone to strike targets concealed by cloud cover.

These advanced capabilities have made it an appealing option for buyers looking for combat UAVs. The Turkish President had earlier stated that the export demand for TB2 and Akinci drones was burgeoning. The drone has been displayed at all major defense exhibitions in a bid to sign big deals. Countries like Pakistan and Azerbaijan have already purchased UAVs, while several other prospective buyers are interested.

The drone has already been sold to several customers, and Ankara is looking for more buyers. Akinci’s mission today could whet global interest in drones, especially as drone warfare continues to gain prominence worldwide.