Following similar steps by Lithuania and Poland, the people of Norway and Canada have started crowdfunding campaigns to buy Turkey-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) for Ukraine.
Norwegians plan to collect 55 million kroner (about $5.5 million) and transfer it to the aid fund at the Ukrainian Embassy, media reports said.
The related campaign was published on the Spleis fundraising website.
“Give a Bayraktar from a Norwegian to the Ukrainian people – show solidarity with Ukraine’s fight against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. Lithuania collected one Bayraktar in three days, Poland collected three Bayraktars and Ukraine collected three Bayraktars in a few days. Of course, Norway must do at least the same,” the statement on the website read.
Canadians meanwhile aim to raise C$7 million (around $5.5 million) to buy the drone for Ukraine before the country’s Independence Day.
Poland and Lithuania both raised the target amount but drone maker Baykar said it would give the drones to these countries free of charge, asking for the money raised to be used to aid the Ukrainian people.
Pictures shared by the Lithuanian government a week ago showed the drone, featuring the logo of a hawk in Lithuania and Ukraine’s colors, has already been delivered.
Ukraine has bought more than 20 Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from Baykar in recent years and ordered a further 16 on Jan. 27. That batch was delivered in early March.
Baykar late last month said it would be donating three drones to Ukraine after a crowdfunding campaign there raised enough funds to buy “several” of the Bayraktar TB2 model.
The company said the crowdfunding campaign in Ukraine had reached the milestone in a few days and that business leaders as well ordinary people contributed to the fund.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government previously imposed an embargo against Baykar for the Bayraktar TB2’s subsystems following its use by Azerbaijan in Karabakh, previously referred to as Nagorno-Karabakh.
In April 2021, Canada canceled export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding that the country sold the equipment to the Azerbaijani military forces during fighting in Armenian-occupied Karabakh. Export licenses were initially suspended in 2019 during Turkish military activities in Syria. Restrictions were then eased but reimposed during the conflict in the Caucasus.
Among its claims, the Canadian government asserted that the drones used by Azerbaijan in the conflict had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.
Baykar’s Bayraktar TB2s played a vital role during the conflict that erupted between Azerbaijan and the fellow ex-Soviet republic of Armenia, Turkey’s counterterrorism operations in Syria and retaliatory moves against the country’s Russia-backed regime, and most recently in Ukraine where they have been used against Russian heavy military gear, from air defense systems to even naval platforms.
Following Canada’s export decision, the Turkish company said that the UCAVs have been equipped with the Common Aperture Targeting System (CATS) developed by leading defense contractor Aselsan, replacing those acquired from abroad, namely from Canadian companies.