Pakistan buying the first batch of Bayraktar Akinci combat drones from Turkey has raised a red flag in the Indian intelligence system. Pakistan is acquiring these costly drones when the country is facing the worst economic crisis.
“Pakistan, by purchasing these armed UAVs from Turkey, wants to keep the dream of acquiring India’s Jammu-Kashmir relevant,” said NK Sood, a former officer of India’s premier external intelligence agency, RAW (Research & Analysis Wing).
“It is strange that on the one hand, Pakistan is begging before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans to restore its economy but on the other hand making a major deal with Turkey for Akinci drones,” Sood told EurAsian Times.
Recently Pakistan Air Force (PAF) designed a shiny patch for its combat pilots who had received training on Akinci drones in Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar. The patch shows India’s Jammu & Kashmir as Pakistan territory.
This patch will be worn by the pilots operating these Akinci combat drones. Pakistan is believed to have received the first batch of 6-7 Bayraktar Akinci drones. However, no official announcement has been made by Turkey or Pakistan.
Akinci patch of PAF is inspired by the TV series Game of Thrones and has Games of Drones written on it along with House of Akinci. The patch also quotes, “Fear cuts deeper than swords.”
The possible acquisition of Turkish drones comes at a time when the South Asian country is witnessing feuds even over the distribution of daily items like flour. But these drones are also a cause of worry for neighboring India, which is already seething under large-scale smuggling of narcotics drugs & weapons from the Pakistan border via drones.
Bayraktar Akinci is a high-altitude long-endurance drone that can be armed with ammunition. Akinci is the Turkish word for ‘raider.’ The drone can fire various missiles, both air-to-air and air-to-ground.
Bayraktar Akinci, designed and developed by the Turkish company Baykar, was first tested in 2019. The mass production of the combat drone began in 2021 and entered the Turkish armed forces in the same year.
The Turkish combat drone is a strategic class platform that can carry various payloads. As per the company’s claim, the Akinci is “capable of conducting operations that are performed with fighter jets.”
“Bayraktar Akinci is equipped with dual artificial intelligence avionics which supports signal processing, sensor fusion, and situational awareness in real-time. 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.
Akinci is 12.2m in length and 4.1m in height and can carry a maximum weight of 6000 kilograms, including a payload of 1500 kilograms. As claimed by Bayraktar, the drone has a wingspan of 20m and can fly at a height of 40 thousand feet.
Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and many other nations friendly to Turkey already operate Bayraktar TB2 tactical armed drones. Azerbaijan used these TB2 drones against Armenia in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.
These Turkish drones, along with those procured from Israel, were believed to be the primary reason for the victory of Azerbaijan against Armenia. Ukraine has also operated Turkish TB2 drones in the ongoing war with Russia.
But what has caught everyone’s eye now is the Pakistani deal for much coveted Turkish combat drones. Largely because Pakistan’s economy is in tatters these days. Pakistan was in talks with the IMF for loans, but those have been stalled.
Pakistan recently came out of the gray list of FATF (Financial Action Task Force) but cannot get loans from international funding agencies. This has led Pakistani shopkeepers to sell flour in black. People can be seen in long queues for daily used items.
There have been reports of stampedes and deaths of women and children during the flour distribution system. On Sunday, the petrol prices were increased by Rs 10, taking the price to Rs 282 per liter. Pakistan is reeling under intense inflation.
Such has been a scarcity of essential goods that Pakistan had to plead with its all-weather friend, China, for supplies of essential commodities. At Pakistan’s request, China had to open the Integrated Check Posts of the icy Karakoram Pass for the supply of goods much before their scheduled openings in April.
According to Sood, although Pakistan has no external threat from India but wants to use this bogey to acquire these Turkish drones. As is evident, India has never invaded or attacked Pakistan. All the wars (’47-48, ’65 & ’71) which both the South Asian neighboring adversaries have fought were started by Pakistan.
While speaking to EurAsian Times, Sood quoted erstwhile Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who had said that his country (Pakistan) “could eat grass but would still make nuclear bombs.”
But Sood said that now Pakistan would not even get grass for its donkeys, referring to the large-scale flood which had erupted in large parts of the country last year, leading to the destruction of crops, which has aggravated economic turmoil.
- By: Neeraj Rajput
- Mail us at: etdesk (at) eurasiantimes.com
- The author tweets at @neeraj_rajput