Predator Drones at Incirlik: Using Open Source to Find Them

Turkey is – once again – considering whether or not to submit a request for American drones. In the past, Ankara coveted armed reaper drones. Now, Turkey appears to be interested in the unarmed export variant of the predator. The drones – I presume – are intended to act as a stop gap until Turkey begins to produce and deploy the Anka.

In lieu of selling armed drones to Turkey, something complicated by export-control laws and congressional resistance, the Obama administration sought to appease Ankara by stationing four unarmed Predators at Incirlik Air Base. The drones are flown from the United States by an American contractor. The video feed is beamed via satellite to a shared joint-operations centre near Ankara. Turkish Air Force officers are in the room with their American counterparts and reportedly have the authority to direct the drones’ movements.

The Open Source IMINT website published the first pictures of the drones at Incirlik on 9 December 2013.

OSIMINT (12FEB13) Turkey Incirlik Afld

I have done a bit more digging and appear to have narrowed down the timeframe in which these shelters were built.

On 13 November 2000, the area where the drone hangars were built looked like this:

The site does not change at all until late 2012. Here it is again on 23 June 2011.

2362011

However, on 11 September 2012, one can clearly see the first Predator drones in Turkey. And, if you look closely, you can also see the outline for the clam shell hangar on the right side of concrete pad.

1192012

Here is the site again on 13 February 2013

13Feb2013Predator

And here is the site in August 2013.

682013

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About aaronstein1

I am an Istanbul based PhD Candidate a King's College London.
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