Turkey-Israel Drones Relationship

Back in 2005 Israeli companies IAI and Elbit systems were awarded a $185 million contract to provide 10 Heron drones to the Turkish air force. The contract has been plagued with problems, however. Part of the terms demanded that the drones would have 30% local Turkish content, which in the end was provided largely by the inclusion of imaging equipment from the Turkish supplier Aselan.

When the drones provided failed to meet specifications (fuel consumption high and drones failed to reach acceptable altitudes), IAI blamed the problem on Aselan, whose imaging equipment was said to be much heavier than the Israeli equivalents. Turkey countered that it was IAI’s responsibility to make sure that the Aselan equipment was properly integrated into the new Herons.

A more extensive summary of the conflict can be found here. And in Asbarez.com here.

The conflict was made much worse by the Israeli attacks on Gaza in late 2009, which escalated into a confrontation between the Turkish and Israeli leadership, and problems for Israel in its relationship with NATO.

Ultimately the contract was completed and the drones provided, however there were indications that Turkey would shift the focus of its drones acquisition program to the US and to its own domestic drones programme.

Further information about the Israel Turkey drones relationship can be found here, and here.

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