The Turkish defense company Baykar, perhaps best known for its Bayraktar drone that was widely used by Ukrainian forces to destroy Russian military equipment at the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022, has begun constructing a factory near Kyiv, its CEO told Reuters on Feb. 6.
Baykar received licenses to manufacture combat drones in Ukraine in June 2023. According to the company's CEO, Haluk Bayraktar, the production of drones is set to begin in 2025, and the total investment into the project would amount to around $95 million.
Kyiv and Ankara signed the deal to open a Baykar factory in Ukraine in February 2022, before Russia's full-scale invasion. Ukraine's parliament ratified the agreement in December 2022.
Bayraktar told Reuters at the sidelines of the World Defense Show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that the factory is already being built and will need one year to complete construction.
Further logistical and organizational steps will need to follow the completion before the factory is fully operational, Bayraktar said.
The plant aims to employ around 500 people, he said.
The factory's planned output is around 120 units per year, but it is unclear exactly which drone model will be produced.
When asked if security concerns had caused any hesitation, Bayraktar said the plans were were "fully moving ahead" and that "nothing" would stop them.