Poland becomes first NATO member to purchase Turkish-made combat drones

Poland becomes first NATO member to purchase Turkish-made combat drones
Poland signed a deal with Turkey to purchase 24 Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.
2 min read
25 May, 2021
Polish (L) and Turkish (R) presidents. [AFP/Getty]

The Polish defense ministry signed a deal with Turkey Tuesday to purchase 24 Turkish-made drones - a first by a NATO member.

The deal was signed in Ankara during an official visit by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

It included the purchase of 24 Bayraktar TB2 drones making up four squadrons.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak revealed that the aircraft will be delivered in 2022 along with anti-tank and anti-armour munitions.

"An important day for our safety! I have signed a contract for the supply of 24 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles are one of the most important elements of the modernisation of the Polish army. The Polish Armed Forces are gaining completely new abilities!" Blaszczak said on his Twitter account.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during Duda's visit that Turkish F-16 jets would "soon" be sent to Poland to assist NATO's Baltic Air Policing operation.

Poland earlier deployed a marine patrol aircraft and a military mission to Turkey's Incirlik Base, where Duda also visited Tuesday according to Turkish media.

The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial combat vehicle capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by Turkey's Baykar company, primarily for the Turkish military.

The deal with Poland follows similar purchases made by Qatar, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. Hungary is also expected to follow, according to Turkish media.

While Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1951, Poland joined the alliance in 1999.