By Akhil Kadidal & Akshara Parakala
Dozens of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel have completed training to operate Baykar Tech’s Bayraktar Akinci (Flying Fish) armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This suggests that the Pakistan Air Force is on schedule to induct the UAV.
In a statement on 23 October, Baykar said that 110 pilots and staff from three countries had successfully graduated from the sixth term of the Akinci training programme. The countries included Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.
Baykar did not specify the number of graduates from Pakistan. A Janes assessment of images of the graduation identified about 44 PAF personnel. Baykar said that the graduates included pilots, payload operators, mechanics and engine technicians, electronic and ground control station operators, and weapons operators.
On 19 October, the PAF revealed an image of an air force major inspecting an Akinici at the Baykar factory facility. The UAV was seen equipped with an Aselsan Miniature Bomb (MB). This reveals the detail to develop and test technologies for future unmanned combat aerial vehicles with air-to-air and air-to-ground attack capabilities for use in the Pakistan Armed Forces along with other in-service equipment.
According to Aselsan, the MB is a Global Positioning System (GPS)/inertial navigation system (INS) guidance bomb with a range of 55 n miles. The company added that the bomb can penetrate 1 m of reinforced concrete from a range of 30 n miles. The Akinci platform is potentially able to carry around four to six MBs.