Turkey may cancel Israel drone deal over missed deadlines
The $185 million deal for the Heron unmanned aerial vehicles was signed in 2005.
The Turkish Defense Ministry is considering canceling the purchase of 10 Israeli-made attack drones because the Israel Aerospace Industry and Elbit have missed deadlines, it said.
The $185 million deal for the Heron unmanned aerial vehicles was signed in 2005. IAI and Elbit were supposed to deliver the drones a year ago.
Turkey decided to purchase from Israel after the U.S. refused to sell it similar equipment, saying it feared the drones would be used on Kurdish rebels.
According to Turkish military sources quoted in the local press, the Israeli firms complained that the Turkish contractor, Aslan, was responsible for the delays.
IAI told Haaretz that the main problem was the camera developed by the Turkish contractor. The camera was too heavy, and prevented the drone from reaching an altitude of 30,000 feet, in keeping with the project prospectus.
Turkish counterclaims hold that the Israeli firms are coming up with technical excuses in order to avoid fines for violating the agreement.
A source at the Turkish Defense Ministry told Haaretz on Sunday that the Israeli companies were aware how much the camera weighed and the problems that this could cause, but had promised that "this would not be a problem."