The Turkish military has received the KERKES GPS-independent autonomous navigation system from the STM Defence, enabling control over drone swarms in the contested electromagnetic environment. In 2019, KERKES was launched by STM with support from the Turkish defense procurement agency called SSB. The purpose of the project was to enable accurate location data and mission execution by applying object recognition technology and AI with deep-learning capabilities. A UAV begins its mission with a pre-loaded map with KERKES. After this, the map is compared with the data collected during the flight.
In early October, the final acceptance testing of the system was completed. On 9th October, the SSB chief, Ismail Demir, announced the arrival of KERKES with the Turkish Armed Forces on social media. He claimed that Turkey is one of the few countries in the world capable of operating UAVs independently. He further mentioned that the SSB is still working on a technology that can allow mini drones to perform missions without the threat of being blinded by electronic warfare.
KERKES is able to gather targeting data in a GPS-denied scenario. It does so by processing information and images received by various sensors. The GM of STM, Ozgur Guleryuz, said, “This enables attacks on targets detected by artificial intelligence and deep learning techniques.” He further added, “These capabilities are developed as part of the KERKES project and can also be applied to other micro/mini, tactical or operational UAV systems.”
According to a claim made by Guleryuz, KERKES can be adapted to land and naval platforms. Since rotary-wing and fixed-wing UAVs can enable rapid and reliable attacks with the support of satellite navigation systems, especially GPS, they are becoming increasingly common on the battlefield.