The Ethiopian Air Force has acquired an undisclosed number of Akinci unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Turkey and Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets.
During the handover ceremony, two Su-30 planes were displayed as the Akinci UAVs were formally inducted.
The drones have been in Ethiopian service since as early as November 2023.
The fighter jets are believed to be part of an 18-unit batch manufactured for the Indian Air Force and delivered between 1997 and 1999.
The acquisition makes Ethiopia the fourth African nation to operate the Russian-made jets, following Algeria, Angola, and Uganda.
Army General Air Force Commander Field Marshal Birhanu Jula explained that the move comes amid Ethiopia’s push to modernize all branches of its armed forces.
A Strategic Drone
Developed by Turkish defense giant Baykar, the Akinci is a high-altitude long-endurance drone that can carry 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of payload at up to 195 knots (224 miles/351 kilometers per hour).
It can automatically navigate, route, take off, and land itself, eliminating the need for ground systems during missions.
The Akinci can also be used in air-to-ground and air-to-air attack missions, carrying payloads such as anti-tank missiles, mini smart munitions, and guided bombs.
Sukhoi’s Flanker Plane
The Sukhoi Su-30 is a twin-engine fighter aircraft first introduced in Russia in 1992 as an air superiority and strike fighter.
Its main roles include all-weather air interdiction and long-range strike operations, utilizing anti-air and surface missiles weighing up to 8,000 kilograms (17,600 pounds).
A total of 15 countries operate the Su-30 around the world.