Algeria will become the first export customer to use Aksungur unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in North Africa after it ordered six of the drones from Turkey.
Designed by Turkish Aerospace International (TAI), Aksungur is a medium altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV with a high payload capacity, which makes it an ideal platform for ISR and attack operations. The Aksungur UAV is a variant of TAI’s Anka UAV. The fixed-wing unmanned aircraft features a twin-boom configuration. It has a length of 12.5m, a height of 3.1m and a wingspan of 24.2m.
The Aksungur UAV can be configured into three different mission variants, including surveillance and reconnaissance, ground attack, and maritime patrol versions. It comes with three different payload options integrating electro-optical (EO) / infra-red (IR) / laser designator (LD) / laser range finder (LRF) cameras, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) / ground moving target indication-inverse synthetic aperture radar (GMTI-ISAR) sensors, and a variety of air-to-ground weapons.
Each wing is fitted with three hard points, capable of holding a maximum weight of 500kg. The weapon payloads carried by the UAV are TEBER-81 (laser-guided Mk-81), TEBER-82 (laser-guided Mk-82), L-UMTAS, MAM-L (L-UMTAS guided-missile variant), Cirit, MAM-C (Cirit guided-missile variant), HGK-3 (precision guidance kit), KGK (82) (wing assisted guidance kit) and small diameter bombs.
Algeria has been steadily improving its drone capacity and has acquired a plethora of MALE drones from several countries, particularly from China. Algeria operates Rainbow CH-3, CH-4B, CH-5, and Wing Loong II, as well as several other indigenous UAV types.
In 2018, the Algerian Ministry of National Defence (MDN) displayed two Chinese-made CASC CH-4 and CH-3 UAVs in a hangar. The acquisition of this type of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) makes Algeria one of the few African countries to deploy armed drones in combat, behind Nigeria and Egypt.
In 2019, the Ministry of National Defence (MDN) said in a statement on 30 April said that Algeria’s new El Djazair 54 and El Djazair 55 UCAV have conducted several airstrikes against militants in the country.
This was the first time the MDN has announced a UAV strike, although it is not clear yet if this was the first time the El Djazairs has carried out an airstrike. The El Djazairs (54 and 55) are both local versions of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) designed Adcom Systems Yahbon Flash 20 and United 40 UAV which Algeria pressed into service on 30 December 2018.
Earlier this year, a Chinese-made ASN-209 surveillance drone crashed on Monday, September 12, 2022, in a field in M’sila, Algeria. The ASN-209 drone crashed in a village in the wilaya of M’Sila located 233 km southeast of Algiers.