Story: Bayraktar TB2; 12-06-2022;
Bayraktar TB2 Drones. The success story all you need to know.
• UAV is a term that is commonly applied to military use cases.
• There are more than 300 units of these Drones built till the date, while the most successful version is TB2 and its predecessor version TB3.
How did Bayraktar TB2 Drones, a made in Türkiye, proved out to be a big game changer in recent war times?:
First, let’s just take a brief look at what drones are?
Drones or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), are component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which includes adding a ground-based controller and a system of communications with the UAV.
Drones may operate via a remote control on the ground, as remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), or with various degrees of autonomy, such as autopilot assistance, up to fully autonomous aircraft that have no provision for human intervention.
Drones are used in various fields including military, aerial photography, product deliveries, agriculture, policing and surveillance, drone racing etc.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is defined as a “powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or non-lethal payload”.
Drones are usually built in narrow shape and size, but sizes may vary according to the purpose or use cases.
Drones provide many advantages over the enemy as these flying machines are tough to track, and they provide live visuals as they may be equipped with cameras and many other sensors.
Drones not only provide key aerial views, vital strategical information, but also could be loaded with lethal weapons, thus locating, targeting and destroying the enemy becomes much easier and convenient in place of a traditional warfare operation.
Drones are relatively cheap in comparison to their counterparts, tracking aircraft, warplanes etc.
Many developed countries like the USA, RUSSIA, CHINA etc are continuously trying to achieve the best in class UAVs, and are spending enormous amount of money for the purpose.
Turkey and its Bayraktar Drones:
Turkey, which emerged as an unexpected player in the field of modern drones technology, in the year 2013-15, and showed the entire world how to make a good warfare capable drones.
The idea of building these armed drones rose after, U.S. banned exports of unmanned aircraft technology to Turkey due to some concerns.
Turkey then decided to become self capable Towards achieving the goals of self-defence, and in 2011 the first model of Bayraktar TB1 was delivered to Turkish army.
• TB2 was launched in 2014, a video was released on 18 December 2015 of a test missile fired from the Bayraktar TB2.
TB2 faced production uncertainty when many imported parts and technologies like its engine, which were exported to Turkey by Austria based company named Bombardier Recreational Products, suspended the delivery of Rotax 912 engines used in TB2.
In October 2020 the use of the Canadian Wescam MX-15D system in the drone was disclosed after Armenian officials claimed that remains of an MX-15D system had been recovered from a downed TB2 drone during the nation's conflict with Azerbaijan.
This resulted in ban of MX-15D exports to Turkey.
Turkish industry responded to foreign sales boycotts by announcing provision of domestically manufactured alternatives including TEI PD170 engine (manufactured by TEI), fuel valves and the CATS FLIR system (manufactured by Aselsan).
Turkish defence industry researcher Kadir Doğan tweeted that cancellation of sales of components to Baykar by foreign companies did not pose a major problem, and that as of January 2021, all of those components have been replaced by locally manufactured alternatives.
The Bayraktar TB2 is the possibly most successful unmanned combat vehicle till the date, the drone was made by the Turkish company Baykar Makina Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş., these drones were made primarily for the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkey has the largest operator of TB2 drones.
TB2's export models:
Turkey has also produced TB2's export models which have performed overwhelmingly well in war situations.
Azerbaijan used TB2's in Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020.
More recently, the use of the TB2s have been seen in Russian invasion of Ukraine where, Ukrainian forces have dealt serious damage to Russian armed forces and stalled the Russian advances at many positions.
Turkey has used the Bayraktar series drones in the battles of their own against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and People's Protection Units (YPG) in Iraq and Syria.
Bayraktar TB2s used in 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war:
During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Bayraktar TB2s were used against Armed Forces of Armenia with great success.
Azerbaijan used TB2s to destroy Armenian artillery, infantry positions and military vehicles, including BM-30 Smerch MLRS, T-72 tanks, BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs. Nine Osa and Strela-10 air defence systems were also destroyed by Azerbaijani drones, likely TB2s.
Bayraktar TB2s used in 2022 Russia-Ukraine war:
During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, TB2 drones have been used by Ukraine armed forces against Russian forces and equipment.
As a part of its military modernization program, the Armed Forces of Ukraine purchased 12 Bayraktar TB2s in 2019, and 3 ground control stations worth US$69 million for the Ukrainian army.
Turkish and Ukrainian officials announced the establishment of a joint venture to produce 48 additional Bayraktar TB2s in Ukraine.
On 27 February, Ukraine’s air force confirmed two strikes by TB2 on Russian convoys in the Kherson and Zhytomyr regions.
According to video footage released by the armed forces, TB2 drones have successfully destroyed on different occasions a Russian command post, military vehicles including a tank; different types of trucks, surface-to-air missile systems including Buk, multiple rocket launcher (MLRS), and an electronic warfare system. The drone also reportedly destroyed two Russian fuel trains.
The chief of Ukraine’s air force Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk called the UAV system "life-giving". The popularity of the drone in Ukraine led to a song, "Bayraktar" being written about the drone while throwing insults at the Russian army and the invasion.
On 13 April 2022, Ukrainian sources claimed at least two R-360 Neptune missiles were responsible for the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva – causing a explosion on one of the ship's exposed deckside missile tubes. Drones, likely TB2s, were alleged to have helped decoy the cruiser’s defences.
Bayraktar TB2 Stats:
• Crew: 0 onboard, 3 per ground control station
• Length: 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in).
Wing span: 12 m (39 ft 4 in).
• Max. take-off mass: 700 kg (1,500 lb).
• Payload: 150 kg (330 lb).
• Powerplant: 1 × 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912-iS internal combustion engine with injection.
• Propeller: 2-bladed variable-pitch.
• Fuel capacity: 300 litres (79 US gal).
• Fuel type: gasoline (petrol).
• Maximum speed: 120 knots (220 km/h).
• Cruise speed: 70 knots (130 km/h).
• Range: up to 4,000 km (2,200 nmi).
• Communication range: line-of-sight propagation, < 300 kilometres (190 mi).
• Operational altitude: 18,000 ft (5,500 m).
• Endurance: 27 hours.
• Hardpoints: four L3Harris Hornet bomb racks for single-lugged 23 kg/50 lbs smart micro-munitions, with provisions to carry combinations of:
• MAM: MAM-C and MAM-L guided bombs.
• L-UMTAS (Long Range Anti tank Missile System).
• Roketsan Cirit (70 mm Missile System).
• TUBITAK-SAGE BOZOK Laser Guided Rockets.
• TUBITAK-SAGE TOGAN quad rack of GPS/INS guided 81 mm mortars.
• Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System – 70mm laser-guided rocket (proposed).
• Interchangeable EO/IR/LD imaging and targeting sensor systems or Multi Mode AESA Radar:
• Aselsan CATS EO/IR/LD imaging and targeting sensor (current production).
• WESCAM MX-15D EO/IR/LD imaging and targeting sensor (production till October 2020).
• Garmin GNC 255A navigation/communication transceiver.