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The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Turkish Aerospace for a number of Anka medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the LIMA defence exhibition on 25 May 2023.

The contract, which is an initial Phase 1 deal worth more than MYR 400 M (EUR 80.56 M), covers multiple Anka unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground control stations as well as a training and logistics package. Its signing brings to a close an open-tender contest that lasted around five years.

Erol Oguz, unmanned aerial systems programme manager at Turkish Aerospace, told ESD at LIMA that the UAV type being supplied to Malaysia will be a new version of the Anka-S with modified wings. Oguz also confirmed that the Ankas will not be armed, but will carry a maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payload that includes a synthetic aperture radar and an electro-optical/infra-red sensor.

A model of the Anka-S on the Turkish Aerospace stand at LIMA 2023. Malaysia signed a contract at the show for its first Anka-S systems. (Photo: P Felstead)

The training of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel on the Anka UAS will begin next year, while deliveries of the systems will take two years.

Although it appears clear that the RMAF will procure additional UAVs in a second phase, Oguz told ESD that it is “not 100% clear” on what these would be, but that their type would be defined during delivery of the programme’s Phase 1.

Talking more generally about further opportunities for Turkish Aerospace UAVs in Southeast Asia, Oguz said, “This area especially needs maritime surveillance, so all the forces in the region need long-endurance ISR assets, and UAVs are the most cost-effective solutions.

Powered by a Tusas Engine Industries TEI-PD170 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled turbo diesel engine driving a three-blade propeller, the Anka-S has a cruise speed of 204 km/h, an endurance of 30 hours with a 350 kg payload, and a service ceiling of 30,000 ft (9,144 m). The air vehicle is 8.6 m long, has a wingspan of 17.5 m, and has a maximum take-off weight of 1,700 kg.

Although the Anka-S has a 250 km datalink range, it features a satellite communications antenna that allows it to be flown beyond line of sight.

The Anka-S has been in Turkish Air Force service since 2018.

Peter Felstead