Turkey’s drone maker Baykar begins to build plant in Ukraine

A drone made by Turkish manufacturer Baykar is seen at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 20, 2023. [AP]

Turkish defense company Baykar has started building a factory near Kyiv that will employ around 500 people and where it will manufacture either its TB2 or TB3 drone models, the company's chief executive told Reuters.

Turkish-made Bayraktar drones have gained prominence globally after being used by Ukraine's military to thwart Russian forces by destroying armoured vehicles and artillery systems.

Baykar has said it has signed export deals for its TB2 drone with 30 countries. These include Ukraine, Ethiopia, Libya and Azerbaijan since 2018, according to  think tank SIPRI.

"Our factory is being built… we need about 12 months to finish construction and then we will move on to internal machinery, equipment, and organizational structure," Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar said on the sidelines of the World Defense Show in Riyadh.

"The factory in Ukraine is a big one,...

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