``Our Average Annual Flight Operations with Tactical and Operative Class UAVs Exceed 35,000 Hours!``

On the modern battlefield, intelligence is valuable to the extent that it can be obtained in a timely manner and contribute to the commander`s planning and direction of battle. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) stand as one of the most valuable assets for gathering information, bringing accurate intelligence, and shaping the commander`s decisions. Fixed and rotary wing UAVs are also of vital importance in terms of obtaining all kinds of information that the units and decision-making mechanisms need in their area of responsibility in the operational environment, in a quick and accurate manner. Armed UAVs, which enable the detected targets to be neutralized with `pinpoint` accuracy, suppress the tactical capacity utilization of terrorist elements. By reducing their ability to conduct attacks and effectively neutralizing terrorists in populated areas without causing civilian casualties, they play a vital role in enhancing the effectiveness and deterrence of the Gendarmerie General Command in Counter-Terrorism Operations (CTO). They also significantly elevate the technical and tactical capabilities of Gendarmerie units. Established under the Aviation Department on May 3, 2021, the Gendarmerie UAV Division successfully utilized different models and types of domestically produced UAVs and Armed UAVs in critical tasks such as counter-terrorism operations, public safety, law enforcement, and aerial traffic monitoring. We present the exclusive interview conducted with Gendarmerie Pilot, Colonel H. Hüseyin ÖZKAN, the Commander of the Gendarmerie UAV Division, on July 17, 2023. This interview provides firsthand information on the history, responsibilities, affiliated units, the role and significance of UAVs and Armed UAVs within Gendarmerie Aviation, and how the training needs of Pilots, Technicians, and Payload Operators are met within the Gendarmerie UAV Division.

Date: Issue 125 - August 2023 Update: July 21, 2024

Defence Turkey: Could you briefly discuss the development of the Gendarmerie UAV Division in Türkiye? What can you tell us about the development process and history from its establishment to today?

Colonel Hüseyin ÖZKAN: The foundations of the Gendarmerie General Command's UAV Systems were laid in 2009 within the Gendarmerie Intelligence Department. In response to the need for professional UAV management, the UAV and Mobile Support Branch Office was established in 2009. Initially, Fixed-Wing Mini UAV Systems were procured. Subsequently, to fulfill the aerial close reconnaissance needs under various day/night conditions, Mini/Micro/Nano UAVs and Simple Drones were procured and added to the inventory over the years.