Bayraktar TB2

The Bayraktar TB2 is a Turkish medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by Turkey′s Baykar company primarily for the Turkish Air Force (TAF).[1] The aircraft is monitored and controlled by an aircrew in the Ground Control Station, including weapons employment, via Türksat satellite.[2] Bayraktar means "ensign" or "standard-bearer" in Turkish. The development of the UAV has been largely credited to Selçuk Bayraktar, a former MIT student.[3][4]

Bayraktar TB2
Bayraktar TB2 Runway.jpg
Turkish Air Force Bayraktar TB2
Role Unmanned combat aerial vehicle
National origin Turkey
Manufacturer Baykar
First flight August 2014; 6 years ago (2014-08)
Status In service
Primary users Turkish Air Force
Developed from Bayraktar TB1
Developed into Bayraktar Akıncı

The aircraft previously relied on imported and regulated components and technologies such as the engines (manufactured by Rotax in Austria), missile rack (UK) and optoelectronics (FLIR sensors imported from Wescam in Canada or Hensoldt from Germany). Engines exports were halted when Bombardier, owner of Rotax, became aware of the military use of their recreational aircraft engines.[5] In October 2020 Canadian WESCAM (optics and sensors) exports were restricted by the Canadian Foreign Ministry.[6] At the same time local FLIR integration tests started with Aselsan's CATS FLIR system on 6 November 2020.[7]

Ground Control Station System

Development

 
Bayraktar TB2 at Teknofest 2019.
 
Bayraktar TB's information board of technical specifications in Turkish language.

The development of the Bayraktar TB2 had been spurred by a U.S. ban on exports of armed unmanned aircraft to Turkey due to concerns they would be used against PKK groups inside and outside Turkey.[3]

The Bayraktar TB2 first flew in August 2014.[8] On 18 December 2015, a video was published for the missile test of Bayraktar TB2.[9][10][11][12]

The arming of the Bayraktar TB2 would not have been possible without the help of UK technology, namely the Hornet micro-munitions bomb rack invented, developed, designed and patented by EDO MBM Technology Ltd, Brighton in the UK. The bomb rack was provided to Turkey in 2015, and a variant of it was integrated onto the aircraft by the UK company and Roketsan.[13]

In response to The Guardian newspaper, Baykar Chief Technical Officer Selcuk Bayraktar denied that the bomb rack came from the UK. "We are not buying it from you, we never did. It not only does not work under any circumstances but is also very expensive," Bayraktar said on Twitter. "We have designed and manufactured a more advanced and cost-effective one ourselves." [14] This denial appears to be intended to obscure the facts from the Turkish public.[15]

On 19 August 2020 the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) disclosed details of a six year history of exports of the Hornet bomb rack to Turkey between 2014-2020 suggesting that supply of the critical technology to Turkey had continued well beyond the development stage of the Bayraktar TB2 and right up to the publication of the Guardian story in November 2019. "There were 18 Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) applications submitted by EDO MBM Technology between 2014-2020 for exports of goods “ 'related to Hornet Bomb Racks / Hornet Missile Launchers' to Turkey where the proposed exports were for end-users in Turkey. Of these, 16 licences were granted, and 2 applications were stopped." [16]

Baykar signed a deal with Qatar in March 2018 to manufacture six drones for the Qatari forces. In January 2018, Baykar signed an agreement with Ukrspetsproject on the purchase of 12 Turkish Bayraktar TB2 and 3 ground control stations worth US$69 million for the Ukrainian army.[17][18][19] Ukraine received the first batch of UAVs in March 2019.[20]

In October 2020 the use of the Canadian Wescam CMX-15D system in the drone was disclosed after Armenian officials claimed, that remains of a CMX-15D system had been recovered from a downed TB2 drone during the nation´s conflict with Azerbaijan. That triggered a stop of the CMX-15D exports to Turkey while and an investigation of Global Affairs Canada is evaluating the use of Canadian technology in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.[21] Turkey selects Common Aperture Targeting System (CATS) from Aselsan as a replacement for Canadian CMX-15D. [22] [23][24]

The cost of a TB2 is estimated as between $1 million to $2 million, in part because of the use of commodity parts such as non-military grade Garmin GPS receivers.[25]

Operational history

 
Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) first trial flights

Kurdish–Turkish conflict

 
Bayraktar Tactic TB2 User Interface Software

Turkish military use TB-2 gained prominence in counterinsurgency operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and People's Protection Units (YPG) militants positions across the border in Iraq and Syria.[26][27][28][3] Turkey considered PKK and YPG as terrorist organizations.[29]

On 2 July 2018, A Turkish Air Force Bayraktar TB2s crashed likely due to engine failure in Hatay province, Turkey.[30]

On 15 August 2018, Turkish Land Forces successfully used Bayraktar TB2 in a joint cross-border operation of the Turkish Armed Forces and the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey to kill the senior (PKK) leader and board member of the Kurdistan Communities Union İsmail Özden in Sinjar District, northwestern Iraq.[31]

Turkish military used combined UAV and artillery tactics in Syria against the PKK-linked YPG. According to Turkey the number of militant killed or wounded, ascended to 449 by use of armed TB2 and 680 were indirectly in operations assisted by air support from the UAV.[26]

Libya

In June 2019, international news media reported that the Libyan UN recognized [32] Government of National Accord (GNA) used Bayraktar TB2s to strike an airbase held by General Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). Despite the UN embargo on Libya's ongoing civil war, it is suspected that at least 3 Bayraktar TB2 UCAV were being used over Tripoli by the GNA government forces. The LNA general Haftar's forces, on the other hand, claimed to have destroyed one UAV in Mitiga airport. Video evidence shows at-least one Bayraktar TB2 flying over Tripoli[33] about to land at Mitiga's Military section, under control of GNA-allied forces. Turkish TB2s have continued to see wide scale use in western Libya, targeting LNA fighters. The LNA routinely reports downing of Turkish drones, claiming to shoot down six in one week.[34]

In December 2019 the LNA shot down two Turkish TB2 UAVs in Ain Zarah, near Tripoli.[35]

On 25 February 2020 LNA forces shot down two TB2 drones in 24 hours.[36][37]

On 31 March 2020 the Libyan National Army shot down another Turkish made Bayraktar TB2 combat drone near the Libyan city of Tripoli.[38]

On April 17, 2020, a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 Drone shot down near Bani Walid.[39]

In the third week of May 2020, Libyan National Army's Pantsir missile system reportedly shot down two of the Government of National Accord's Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drones, one near Tarhuna city and the another near Jebel Sherif.[40]

By 1 July 2020, a total of 17 Bayraktars TB2 drones were reported shot down or lost on Libya during six months of fighting.[41] Other sources place the number of losses at 20 TB2s confirmed as destroyed since 2019.[42]

Bayraktar TB2 also proved successful against the Russian-made Pantsir air defence systems.[43] Bayraktar TB2s are reported to have destroyed Pantsir missile batteries during the Libyan conflict.[44][45]

Syria

On March 2020 Bayraktar TB2s, Anka-S UAVs, and an array of Koral electronic jammers were deployed and extensively used in coordinated action to strike Syrian Army targets on the ground during the Operation Spring Shield launched by Turkey following losses the Turkish forces incurred at the hands of the Russian forces in northwestern Syria at the end February 2020.[46][47][48] The deployment was assessed by experts to be a success and a tactical game-changer.[49][50][51]

During the week of fighting, Turkish drones took out 73 Syrian armed vehicles.[52] Russian sources said that the Russian-backed Syrian air defences claimed the destruction of seven Bayraktar TB2 UAVs by 5 March 2020.[53] However, there is only visual evidence for three Bayraktar drones being shot down.[54][55][56][57][58]

On 23 August 2020, another Bayraktar TB2 drone was shoot down by Syrian Air defenses near Kafr Nabl, Idlib after being detected spotting targets for Syrian rebels.[59][60]

Azerbaijan and 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war

In June 2020, the Defence Minister of Azerbaijan, Zakir Hasanov, announced that Azerbaijan had taken the decision to purchase Bayraktar drones from Turkey.[61] During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Bayraktar TB2s were used against Armed Forces of Armenia with great success.[62] Azerbaijan used TB-2 to destroy Armenian artillery, infantry positions and military vehicles including BM-30 Smerch MLRS, T-72s tanks, BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs.[63][64][65] According to Azerbaijan Department of Defense, several Osa, Strela-10 and two S-300 air defense systems were also destroyed by TB2s.[63][65][66][67][68] On 19 October 2020, a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2s was shot down by air defenses of the Armenian Army over the skies of Nagorno Karabakh.[69][70] On 8 November 2020, another Azerbaijani Bayraktar TB2 was shot down by air defense on southeastern Nagorno Karabakh.[71][72] After learning that their products were used on Bayraktar TB2 drones, Hampshire-based UK aircraft component manufacturer Andair announced halting supply and cancelling all orders from Baykar Makina on 11 January 2020.[73] The British manufacturer became the latest company to stop selling equipment to Turkey after its components were found in drones shot down during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. [74]

Operators

 
Map of Bayraktar TB2 operators in blue

  Azerbaijan

  Libya

  Qatar

  Turkey

  Ukraine

Specifications (Bayraktar TB2)

 
Bayraktar TB2 loaded with MAM L
 
UMTAS missile used in TB2[78]

Data from official Baykar Defence website.[77]

General Characteristics

  • Crew: 0 onboard, 3 in ground station
  • Length: 6.5 m (21 ft)
  • Wing Span: 12 m (39 ft)
  • Max Take Off Weight: 650 kg (1,430 lb)
  • Payload: 150 kg (330 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x 100 Hp Internal Combustion Engine with Injection
  • Fuel Capacity: 300 litres (79 US gal)
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline

Performance

  • Maximum Speed: 120 knots (220 km/h)
  • Cruise Speed: 70 knots (130 km/h)
  • Range: 150 km (81 nmi)[25]
  • Communication Range: Line-of-sight propagation
  • Service Ceiling: 27,000 feet (8,200 m)
  • Operational altitude: 18,000 feet (5,500 m)
  • Endurance: 27 hours

Armaments

Avionics

  • Interchangeable EO/IR/LD imaging and targeting sensor systems or Multi Mode AESA Radar:
    • Aselsan CATS[1] EO/IR/LD imaging and targeting sensor (Current production) [22][23][24]
    • WESCAM MX-15D EO/IR/LD imaging and targeting sensor (Production till October 2020)[85]

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References

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External links