Israel Arms Turkey with Drones

Israel arms companies IAI and Elbit systems have sold Turkey 10 Heron drones at a cost of $183 million. While the Heron drones will be primarily used for surveillance of the opposition PKK forces in northern Iraq, Turkey is also interested in acquiring an Israeli Harpy 2 drone which can be armed. At least one source suggests that Turkey has placed an order for the Harpy 2. And older source claims that Turkey plans to acquire 48 Harpy 2 drones, which are very small anti radar, ‘loitering’ drones capable of carrying a missile. (The same source describes the $880 million deal that has Israel upgrading many of Turkey’s planes and tanks). The Harpy 2 was designed to destroy surface to air missiles as well as radar systems, making airspace safe for attackers planes. It carries a 23 kg warhead, and because of its relatively low cost, it is expendible. It was developed to allow Israel to attack Iran.

Currently the Heron drones, and a Predator drone supplied by the US, are used to gain intelligence on PKK bases in Northern Iraq, which are then targetted by mortars and aircraft.

The Turkish campaign against the PKK in Iraq, which is of dubious legality, causes untold hardship to civilians living in the area of the conflict.

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