A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone, which has been secured by Lithuania for Ukraine following a local crowdfunding campaign, is expected to be shipped to Kiev in the coming hours.
The “Vanagas” (meaning “Hawk” in Lithuanian), along with ammunition, arrived in the Baltic country on Monday, the country’s defense minister, Arvydas Anušauskas, tweeted† After a press release on Wednesday, Anušauskas added that the drone would soon be transferred to Ukraine.
“Last Hours of Bayraktar “Vanagas” in Lithuania. It will be delivered to Ukraine very soon,” he tweeted†
The crowdfunding campaign was launched last month by Lithuanian online broadcaster Laisves TV and was able to raise about 6 million euros ($6.11 million) to buy the drone.
The purchase was organized by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, but it says that after learning that it was purchased through a crowdfunding campaign, the manufacturer donated the drone for free.
“Lithuanian citizens have raised money for this aircraft, but inspired by the idea, the Turkish company ‘Baykar’, the manufacturer of ‘Bayraktar’, decided to donate it,” the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “1.5 million euros of the 5.9 million donated is intended for arming the unmanned aircraft.”
It is not the first time that Baykar has donated some of its drones to the Ukrainian armed forces. Last month, after a Ukrainian crowdfunding campaign raised enough money to buy three of the drones, the company said it would donate them for free.
“We ask that the money raised be transferred instead to the struggling people of Ukraine,” it said in a statement on June 27.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone has played a key role in defending Ukraine against Russia. The country had about 20 of its unmanned aerial vehicles before the start of the war on February 24, but Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on June 28 that his office had been able to secure up to 50 drones since the invasion began.
“In the near future, almost all capacity of the Baykar Makina plant will be focused on meeting the needs of the armed forces. It’s about ordering dozens more drones,” Reznikov added.