Algeria set to buy Turkish-made Anka drones
Algeria sealed a deal with Turkey to buy 10 Anka-S drones, following a Moroccan Bayraktar TB2 was suspected of killing three Algerians in Western Sahara last year.
When Algiers got furious and accused Ankara for taking sides between the two North African countries via selling Turkish-made UAVs to Morocco, Turkey offered to sell drones to Algeria too, the Middle East Eye reported.
The deal between Turkish and Algerian officials was finalised last week and Algeria is expected to formally approve the agreement in the coming weeks, the news website said citing two unidentified sources with the knowledge of the matter.
In November, Algeria blamed its arch-rival Morocco of shelling a desert highway with Turkish-made drones and killing three Algerian truck drivers near Western Sahara, a contested region between the two countries.
Morocco was battling the Algeria-backed separatist Polisaro Front in the territory, which 80 percent is controlled by Morocco but claimed by the Polisario Front as an independent country, the Middle East Eye said.
Last September, Morocco acquired 13 armed drones from Turkish firm Baykar amid regional tensions, spending $70 million.
Bayraktar TB2s are famed by proving effectiveness in a series of conflicts in the recent years, including Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Algeria also considered the TB2s but finally decided to buy Anka-S drones, produced by state-owned Turkish Aerospace Inc., the Middle East Eye said.
The Anka-S is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV and can cover a much larger area than other options, meaning it's more useful in places like North Africa with thousands of miles of desert, MEE said.