Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has completed training on Akinci Drones, the all-new UAV Islamabad bought from one of its most trusted partners, Turkey.
Personnel of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) completed training to operate the armed unmanned aerial vehicle Bayraktar Akinci from Baykar Tech. This indicates that the Pakistan Air Force’s plans to introduce the UAV are on schedule.
According to a statement released by the drone manufacturer Baykar on October 23, 110 pilots and staff members from three nations had completed the sixth term of the Akinci training program, including Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.
Even though Baykar did not mention the number of grads from Pakistan, an analysis by Janes of photos from the graduation revealed the presence of 44 PAF officials.
Baykar stated that pilots, payload operators, mechanics and engine technicians, operators of electronic and ground control stations, and operators of weaponry were among the graduates.
In early August, a Pakistani online source named ‘Pakistan Defense Blog’ stated that the PAF troops were starting hands-on training on the Akinci drone in an undisclosed location in Turkey.
The blog further mentioned that the drones would enter service with the PAF by 2023, and Islamabad was among several others that had signed contracts for the drone.
A few days ago, on October 19, the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF’s) Public Relations Department released a video featuring various aircraft and weapon systems within the PAF’s fleet, including the Turkish Akinci combat drone.
Earlier, during an Air Force exercise in late September, Pakistan had flaunted its Bayraktar TB2 drones, medium altitude long endurance UAVs, which have become the most popular and appreciated combat drones in the world after their stellar performance in Ukraine.
In March, Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of Baykar, the firm that manufactures the Bayraktar TB2 and Akinci drones, disclosed that the company had signed two export contracts for the Akinci drone without disclosing the destinations of the drones, their quantity, or price.
Intriguingly, a few days after Bayraktar’s announcement, the PAF’s Public Relations Division published a video that included the Bayraktar and Akinci drones, among other weapon systems, indicating that the PAF had either ordered the two drones or may already be using them.
The news about training on Akinci indicates that the system will soon be available in Pakistan. The relationship between Turkey and Pakistan has strengthened in the last few years, with reports of the two also joining hands to develop a fifth-gen fighter jet that would assume the reputation of the “First Big Fighter Jet of the Islamic World.”
There has been no development on this front, but the defense relationship between the two is evolving.