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By Arie Egozi

The Turkish defense industry is galloping ahead posing growing competition to many other industries in the world, including the Israeli one.

In the past, during the “Golden Years” in the relations between Israel and Turkey, this country was a major potential customer. Now it is becoming a major competitor.

Turkey’s new generation unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) ANKA successfully carried out its maiden flight with its new domestically-developed engine.

With the flight, an important step was taken in projects carried out by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ/TAI) Engine Industries (TEI), Turkey’s pioneering institution in aviation engines, to end the country’s external dependence on UAV engines and meet newly emerging needs.

According to the Daily Sabah, the PD-170 turbo diesel aerospace engine, developed under the Operative UAV Engine Development Project, successfully transported ANKA to the sky.

“Our domestic UAV made its first flight with its domestic and national engine PD-170,” Presidency of Defense Industry (SSB) President İsmail Demir said on Twitter, also thanking TAI, TEI and SBB personnel who worked all night at minus 10 degrees Celsius and ensured Turkey’s independence in another field.

The domestically-made engine will replace the engines that are already supplied from abroad and currently used in ANKA.

The design of the PD-170 turbo diesel aerospace engine was completed to a large extent. In the maturation studies carried out in parallel with four different engine test systems, an engine test of more than 4,000 hours was performed since its first commissioning in January 2017.

With resistance tests and continuously developed design solutions, the engine has reached a level of maturity where it is ready to begin flight tests.

The PD-170 is regarded as a pioneer in its class with 170-horsepower at an altitude of 20,000 feet and one of the best for fuel consumption and power/weight ratio.

Meanwhile, studies on the PD-220 engine, which will be an superior version of the PD-170 engine, have also begun. This engine will power up the new generation of the new heavily-armed UAV Akıncı UAV developed by leading unmanned air system manufacturer Baykar Makina.

Within this context, the PD-170 engine was delivered to Baykar Makina, a major supplier of UAVs for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), on Sept. 30 for the continuation of design and integration works without interruption and the commissioning of the first flight trials.

Designed with a twin-engine mechanism and with 24 hours of endurance at 40,000 feet, Akıncı has entered the manufacturing stage. Set to make its first flight in 2020, the system will carry 900 kilograms of ammunition. Delivery is expected in 2021 after a one-year testing period.


Arie Egozi, iHLS Editor-in-Chief