In April 2005, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems won an contract to supply medium endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Turkish military. Turkey’s local industry would provide sub-systems and services amounting to 30% of the contract.
The contract’s terms have been the subject of shifting reports, and the type of UAV was not specified in the official releases. Over time, however, clarity has emerged on several fronts. One front is the UAV type: the same Heron UAVs that serve with Israel, India, Canada, and other customers. Another front has involved problems with the contract, related to the weight of made-in-Turkey equipment. As clarity has emerged on those fronts, however, a 3rd front – the political front – is introducing complications.