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Togan UAV produced and delivered to Nigeria by STM (Picture source: STM )

Nigeria’s UAV Leap: Turkish Collaboration and Enhanced Defense

Discover Nigeria’s strategic move to upgrade its defense prowess through the acquisition of advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Turkish companies. Delve into the capabilities of TOGAN and BAHA UAVs, explore their role in bolstering Nigeria’s security landscape, and analyze the implications of this collaboration for regional stability and modern warfare strategies.

On August 30, 2023, Nigeria’s Armed Forces took a significant step forward in modernizing their defense capabilities by acquiring cutting-edge TOGAN and BAHA Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Turkish defense companies. This strategic move aligns with Nigeria’s commitment to fortify its military readiness, particularly in the domains of reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. The backdrop of mounting tensions between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Sahel region’s military dictatorships underscores the urgency of such advancements.

Turkey has emerged as a pivotal player in the global UAV market, gaining prominence for deploying highly effective drones in conflict zones, most notably the renowned Bayraktar in Ukraine. For Nigeria, a nation grappling with multifaceted challenges ranging from counter-terrorism to border security, Turkey’s expertise in UAV technology offers a valuable solution.

The TOGAN UAVs, supplied by Turkish defense company STM, represent a noteworthy addition to Nigeria’s defense arsenal. These small rotary-wing drones are purposefully designed for tactical-level reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Equipped with an array of sensors including advanced cameras and thermal imagers, the TOGAN UAVs are poised to elevate Nigeria’s intelligence-gathering capabilities. Notably, this acquisition is a result of a collaborative project worth $36.5 million involving ASISGUARD, the Nigerian Ministry of Defense, and STM. Notably, this marks the second international export of the TOGAN system, with STM also engaging in discussions for potential exports to other African nations.

Another notable contributor to Nigeria’s UAV capabilities is Havelsan, a Turkish defense and informatics company. Havelsan’s BAHA UAVs have been exported to an undisclosed African country, widely believed to be Nigeria. Similar to the TOGAN, the BAHA UAV is a compact fixed-wing drone designed for tactical-level reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

The procurement of these advanced UAVs signifies not merely an isolated acquisition, but rather a significant aspect of the broader military partnership between Turkey and Nigeria. In the preceding year, ASISGUARD supplied a substantial fleet of armed Songar drones to Nigerian counter-terrorism units, showcasing the depth of cooperation between the two nations. Moreover, both Turkey and Nigeria are committed to strengthening their military relations, encompassing joint training initiatives, intelligence sharing mechanisms, and collaborative defense production efforts.

In the context of escalating tensions with military regimes in the Sahel region, including countries such as Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, Nigeria’s proactive approach to equipping its armed forces with modern technology assumes paramount importance. As Nigeria continues to bolster its military capabilities through foreign acquisitions and even licensed production, its role as a regional leader in defense readiness becomes more pronounced.