Turkey as a Drone Superpower: A Case Study of a Mid-Size Power Driving the Operational Environment (Karen Kaya) (March 2023)

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• Turkey has emerged as a drone superpower on the world stage. In just the past few years,
Turkey has become one of a select group of countries in the world that can produce, use
and export armed drones extensively, trailing only the United States, Israel, and China.
• Turkey’s innovative use of its cost-effective Bayraktar TB-2 drone involves using drone
squadrons effectively as a mobile air artillery, thereby achieving overmatch by emphasizing
quantity over quality. This strategy has impacted geopolitical outcomes in several regional
conflicts, and has provided a strategy for middle sized powers to emulate. Several such
powers—including Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan—are buying these cost-effective systems
from Turkey with a view to do so. Other midsize countries with limited defense budgets
are likely to replicate this approach, changing the nature of local conflicts and even the
calculations of larger observing nations.
• Drones and anti-aircraft technologies that merge ISR with strike capabilities will increasingly
impact the trajectories of conflicts. The entry barriers to these technologies are falling,
making it easier for geopolitical issues to turn to war.