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Turkey says armed unmanned ground vehicles to be used in Efrin operation

Updated February 23

Turkey’s armed forces will use armed unmanned ground vehicles during Operation Olive Branch in Efrin, Syria, a government department said.

“20+ Unmanned Ground Vehicles will soon be delivered to the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] and used in Operation Olive Branch,” the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) tweeted on Thursday, February 22, along with a video of the vehicle.

The SSM was previously part of the Ministry of Defence but is now under the direct control of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The vehicle shown in the video appears to be a Katmerciler UKAP (Remote Controlled Weapon Platform).

According to a product brochure, the UKAP platform is fitted with an Aselsan Stabilized Advanced Remote Weapon Platform (SARP) turret. SARP can be equipped with a 12.7mm machine gun, a 7.62mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

SARP features automatic target tracking and has a fire-on-the-move capability. Its sensors are capable of day and night imaging and include a laser range finder. It can store 1,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 400 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition or 96 40mm grenades.

UKAP is controlled via a 10-inch touchscreen LCD control panel and is powered by a hybrid battery/generator engine. Katmerciler says the expected battery life is five hours, while the generator enables eight hours of operation. The unit has a top speed of 25km/h (15mph).

Update February 23 An anonymous Undersecretariat for Defence Industries official confirmed to Anadolu Agency that more than 20 Katmerciler UGVs would be delivered to the TSK in the near future for use in Operation Olive Branch.

According to Anadolu, the UKAP has a second, longer-range remote control unit and multiple UGVs can also be controlled via satellite.

“New-generation, locally-made unmanned smart systems will give Turkey greater power on land, in air, and at seas,” SSM’s Ismail Demir said on Thursday, adding that several autonomous land vehicles would be on the ground in the near future.

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