The Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar announced that it delivered the second batch of Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicles to the Ukrainian Air Force.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence announced that it completed the acceptance tests of the drones at its Starokostiantyniv Airbase. These tests covered the drones’ combat capabilities, maximum altitude, main and emergency power systems, and other parameters.
According to Col. Taras Potyagach, the Head of the Unmanned Aviation Division of the Ukrainian Air Force, the drones will “conduct reconnaissance, provide targets to artillery units and carry out special missions with the help of high-precision weapons.”
Ukraine ordered six TB2 UAVs from Baykar, a privately-owned company, in January 2019. This was BAYKAR’s second TB2 order, the first being a sale of six TB2s to Qatar in March 2018.
Developed in parallel to Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) Anka medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, the TB2 was inducted into the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2014. Since then, the TSK has used the TB2 as part of its counterinsurgency (COIN) operations.
According to the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), the TB2 offers a cruising speed of 70 knots, a max altitude of 24,000 feet, 24 hours of endurance, and communication range of 150 km. It can carry up to 55 kg as payload, which can comprise of lightweight, precision-guided air-to-surface munitions.
Though a sale from Turkey to Ukraine, it would be incorrect to frame this as a one-sided transaction.
Baykar is currently developing a larger twin-engine drone, i.e., the Akinci. With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 4.5 tons, the Akinci will have an external payload of 900 kg and internal payload of 450 kg. The Akinci is expected to have an endurance of 24 hours and flight ceiling of 40,000 feet.
The Akinci will reportedly use turboprop engines (i.e., MS-500V) supplied by Ukraine’s Motor Sich, at least for testing (before Turkey’s indigenous turboprop engines are ready).