Songar, which entered the inventory of the security forces as Turkey's first armed drone, continues to be exported to several markets, according to the company developing the product.
Asisguard General Manager Barış Düzgün told Anadolu Agency (AA) that his company works to develop armed drones, land vehicle electronics and electro-optical cameras.
Indicating that the armed drone project started with a pencil drawing in 2018 and turned into a special product after two years of intense research and development (R&D) activity, Düzgün said, in line with the contract signed with the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) in December 2019, a total of eight Songars were delivered to the gendarmerie, special forces, land forces and special operations units.
Speaking about the export-oriented projects, Düzgün stated that with the developments in the defense industry in Turkey, the competition has increased in the domestic market and it has become a necessity to expand abroad.
Asisguard has chosen some focus regions for export, Düzgün said.
He said that Africa, the Asia Pacific and the Arabian Peninsula come to the fore as their initial focus regions where they can get a market share.
We made our first export to North America, Düzgün said, explaining that there is a great interest from Africa and that they host a delegation from the continent every two weeks.
As a result, he said, they already signed a contract with an African country last week, whose name was not disclosed by Düzgün.
He said that they have also made sales to, again, an undisclosed country in the Asia Pacific, advance payment of which has already been received.
“We need to finish the deliveries this year and we are ready for delivery.”
Further speaking on the Songar, Düzgün said the company has accumulated significant intellectual capital and that this experience was transferred to Songar, which has been integrated with a variety of useful loads.
He said, for example, they have integrated the MPT-55 of arms maker Sarsılmaz.
“We have made Songar a product of 5.56 mm NATO standards with the weapons in its inventory. This means we have the ability to integrate into countries that use 5.45 mm weapons. Later on, we also successfully integrated the 40 mm grenade launcher with Akdaş Silah, the six-rocket launch system with Troy Teknoloji Defense, the smoke bomb, and the 81 mm Togan ammunition of TÜBİTAK SAGE,” he explained.
Düzgün noted that, by integrating different useful loads into the drone, their aim is not to sell drones but to make one particular model more functional.
“Instead of making different drones for each payload, we wanted to decorate a drone with this much useful load,” he said.
Indicating that the product requested in the Asia Pacific is the top version of Songar, Düzgün said that they will deliver a product with night vision capabilities, capable of carrying 5.56 mm weapons and meeting the user's special requests.
“This will allow us to integrate new systems into Songar, gaining advantages in new markets,” he said.
Emphasizing that they want to take part in the "Digital Army" concept that Songar and defense company Havelsan are working on in an environment where the use of autonomous systems on the battlefield is becoming widespread, Düzgün added: “We are working for structures that can perform multiple flights, coordinated flights, integrate artificial intelligence, and fly with machine learning. We know that it has to evolve, that technology is flowing in that direction.”/aa