Turkish defence firm says it's donating its admired Bayraktar TB2 drone to Lithuania, after learning the eastern European country was raising funds to buy a drone for its embattled neighbour, Ukraine.
One of the world's leading drone and aviation tech companies Baykar has donated a war-proven unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) to Lithuania, the Turkish defence firm said.
"The people of Lithuania have honorably raised funds to buy a Bayraktar TB2 for Ukraine. Upon learning this, Baykar will gift a Bayraktar TB2 to Lithuania free of charge and asks those funds to go to Ukraine for humanitarian aid," Baykar said on Twitter on Thursday.
A total of 5.9 million euros ($6.4 million) was raised in just 5-1/2 days, mostly in small donations, according to Laisves TV, the Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the drive.
The major Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle producer also shared photos of a visit by Vilius Semeska, Lithuania's deputy defence minister, to Baykar headquarters in Istanbul.
The people of Lithuania have honorably raised funds to buy a Bayraktar TB2 for Ukraine.— BAYKAR (@BaykarTech) June 2, 2022
Upon learning this, Baykar will gift a Bayraktar TB2 to Lithuania free of charge and asks those funds go to Ukraine for humanitarian aid.
Lithuania praises Türkiye
Following the Turkish defence firm's announcement, Lithuania's Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas thanked Türkiye.
"It is UNBELIEVABLE but Türkiye just agreed to give the Bayraktar that Lithuania gathered money for, FOR FREE. It is amazing! ... Thank you Türkiye!" he said on Twitter.
Anusauskas added that the money raised for the drone will go to support Ukraine.
"We came to Turkey to agree on conditions for the drone purchase, but they prepared the most pleasant surprise possible for us," Deputy Defence Minister Vilius Semaska said in a statement.
It is UNBELIEVABLE but 🇹🇷 just agreed to give the Bayraktar that 🇱🇹gathered money for, ❗️FOR FREE❗️. It is amazing! For the gathered money we will buy the needed ammunition for the Bayraktar and the rest of money will also go for support of 🇺🇦. Thank you Türkiye! 🇹🇷🇱🇹🇺🇦— Arvydas Anušauskas (@a_anusauskas) June 2, 2022
War proven UCAVs
Türkiye is the world's fourth-biggest drone producer after the US, Israel and China.
Bayraktar TB2 entered the inventory of the Turkish army in 2014 and is currently used by several Asian, European, and African countries.
The military-grade drones produced by the Turkish defence company have given Turkish security forces an advantage, especially in cross-border, anti-terror operations.
In the last five years, Ankara deployed its drones in several cross-border military operations: Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, and Spring Shield. The main aim of the Turkish army was to liberate its border with Syria from terrorist entities with a minimum number of its forces on the ground.
Turkish drones have also changed the course of the civil war in Libya, where Ankara helped the UN-recognised then Government of National Accord to defeat warlord Khalifa Haftar on various battlefields across the North African country's crucial western and central territories.