The companies behind Turkey's killer drones

Issue 
Turkish OMTAS missile. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) maufactured by the Turkish regime, its supporters and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s family companies are responsible for killing Kurdish civilians in the northern, southern and western parts of Kurdistan.

Western countries remain silent about these massacres and many are making deals with Turkey for the production of UCAVs.

ANF journalists in South Kurdistan recently saw parts of missiles fired from Turkish UCAVs. Experts examined photos of these laser-guided MAM-C and MAM-L missiles and provided information about the manufacturers.

German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s government has approved 33 units of military hardware for export to Turkey for use in the construction of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the past 10 years.

Following ANF's research into the production of missiles fired from Turkish UCAVs, five western companies stood out. They are based in Germany, England and North America.

Wescam

The camera is undoubtedly the most important technology in both armed and unarmed drones.

The Bayraktar and TAI companies, which produce drones/UAVs for the Erdogan regime, use Canadian company Wescam’s electro-optical and infrared cameras.

In October last year, when the Turkish state launched its invasion of Rojava, Canada decided to embargo the sale of arms to Ankara. However, as a result of negotiations with the Canadian administration in May and June, the embargo was lifted and Wescam began to sell its cabin and optical instruments to the Turkish state again.

Wescam took its cooperation with the Erdogan regime even further and granted Turkish UAV manufacturer Baykar the right to license its technical facilities to perform maintenance and software updates of its technical equipment in Turkey.

TDW

TDW is a subsidiary of MBDA in Germany, a European-based missile system developer with French and Italian partners.

It designs the OMTAS missiles fired from UCAVs. Developed as an anti-tank missile, OMTAS have been made suitable for use by the Turkish army in armaments with the "tandem warhead" system produced by TDW.

The 35 kilogram, medium-range missiles are equipped with a feature that makes it possible for a missile to change its target point, even after firing.

TDW is targeted by international anti-war organisations, because it helps many repressive regimes to produce weapons. TDW, headquartered in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, easily grants the licensing rights for its missile heads to foreign companies.

Turkey ranks first in the list of license rights granted by TDW. Cooperation between the Turkish state and TDW started in 2010.

Thanks to a question by the left party Die Linke in the German parliament last year, it emerged that the Merkel government approved two arms deals with the Turkish state in 2018, with a total value of €290,000.

UTAS

UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS), a subsidiary of the US aviation company Collins Aerospace, was founded in 2012. It has many investments in Turkey, including in Turkish Airlines. It provides Turkey with Inertial Navigation System technology. This technology, which determines the absolute position of a moving vehicle by using an accelerometer and protractor sensors, is also an indispensable feature of UAVs.

According to ANF's research, UTAS, operating in England under the name Atlantic Inertial Systems, produces the laser technology for the MAM-L and MAM-C missiles fired from Turkish UCAVs.

The MAM-C missiles, called Javelins by the Turkish state, weigh 6.5kg and have a diameter of 70mm. MAM-L missiles weigh 22kg. The main feature of both missiles is that they are non-motorised and guided by laser.

The GPS and Inertial Navigation System supplied by UTAS play a critical role in the MAM-L and MAM-C missiles, which are used against civilians, especially in Rojava and South Kurdistan.

Continental Motors

German-based Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH and Continental Aerospace Technologies GmbH merged in 2013 to establish a company called Continental Motors.

The company produces engines for small-sized aircraft and aerial vehicles. Continental Motors produces diesel engines named Continental CD 155 for Bayraktar TB2 vehicles and PD155 engines for Anka-S unarmed aerial vehicles.

Continental Motors has been collaborating with Turkey since 2010, according to data from the German government. However, in response to a question from Die Linke, it was confirmed in the German parliament that the company had deals with Turkey in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016. The contents of the agreements were not disclosed and are labelled state secrets.

Numerics Software GmbH

Numerics Software GmbH has headquarters in the town of Petershausen near Munich, and has helped Turkey with software for missiles launched from UCAVs.

According to data from the German Ministry of Economy and Energy, Numerics Software GmbH approved two deals with the Turkish state in 2008, one in 2011 and two in 2013.

[Abridged from ANF English.]

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