Mali received Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 tactical drones

Highlighted during the Nagorno-Karabakh war, in Libya, in Syria and, more recently, in Ukraine, the capabilities of the Turkish tactical drone Bayraktar TB-2 have won over several African countries, particularly those struggling with armed terrorist groups. [GAT] from the movement of al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. Thus, Niger has ordered half a dozen copies [avec des avions d’entraînement Hükuş, également de facture turque]as well as Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Morocco and Tunisia.

Mali has also expressed interest in this device, produced by the Turkish manufacturer Baykar. Only, given Bamako’s alignment with Moscow and the presence of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner alongside the Malian Armed Forces [FAMa]one would have thought that Turkey would be reluctant to respond favorably to this expression of interest, insofar as Russia would have found an opportunity to study TB2 closely.

But the Russian forces are already very familiar with Baykar’s tactical drone… having seen it at work in the theaters of operations where they are engaged. [et où elles ont très certainement récupéré des épaves de cet appareil].

That said, the question of respect for human rights could have been a brake on the potential sale of TB2 in Bamako… especially since several successive United Nations reports on the situation in Mali have reported a substantial increase abuses committed against the civilian population, both by the GAT and by the Malian government forces and their Russian auxiliaries. But in Ankara, it’s not really a subject…

Either way, Mali ended up getting what it wanted. Indeed, TB-2 drones were presented to the Malian Minister of Defense, Colonel Sadio Camara, during a visit to the Mopti air base [centre du pays], December 21. These devices, the number of which has not been specified, were acquired within the framework of the partnership established between Bamako and Ankara, explained the Office of Radio and Television of Mali. [ORTM].

As a reminder, a TB-2 system includes a control station and up to six drones. With an endurance of at least 24 hours, this device has a range limited to 150 km, which, in view of the immensity of Mali, seems little. Able to fly at a cruising speed of 130 km/h at a maximum altitude of 22,500 feet, it carries several types of weapons, including UMTAS missiles and precision “micro-munitions” MAM-C and MAM- L.

In addition to these TB-2 drones, Mali has also received, this time from Russia, several aircraft, including four L-39C Albatros, two helicopters [un Mil Mi-24P et un Mil Mi-8] and two Su-25 “Frogofoot” attack aircraft, one of which was lost in October. These devices are piloted by Wagner employees.

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