Some of the greatest supporters of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in Operation Olive Branch began on Jan. 20 to eradicate the threats to Turkey's national security by PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, have been the national armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2), which provides intelligence and fire support to the security forces, served for 4,000 hours under the scope of the operation and greatly contributed to the success of the operation.
Domestic UAV Bayraktar TB2 has ensured the success of Turkish Armed Forces during #OperationOliveBranch in Syria's Afrin; prevented civilian casualties and debunked terrorist allegationshttps://t.co/hbBHXbuSgu pic.twitter.com/63Wx2rbvtP— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) March 23, 2018
Citing Turkey's homegrown defense systems, said that combat and reconnaissance drones, in particular, changed the course of the operation in Afrin. "Armed and unarmed UAVs have turned the tide of the Afrin operation," he said Thursday a ceremony in the capital Ankara.
The Bayraktar TB2 armed drones, produced by Baykar and operationally used since 2015, have continued to support the fight against terror in other regions while providing effective surveillance, reconnaissance and fire support to the security forces in the Operations Euphrates and Olive Branch. Bayraktar TB2 UAVs have played an active role in detecting, diagnosing and neutralizing thousands of terrorists to date.
Bayraktar TB2, which is developed and produced nationally and originally with electronic, software, aerodynamic, design and sub-main systems, stands out as the world's most advanced UAV system in its class with its flight automation and performance.
Terrorists in front of the troops moving along Operation Olive Branch were identified and destroyed. Many caves and tunnels used as shelters have also been identified by the reconnaissance duties of UAVs.
While UAV contributed to the elimination of threats with the intelligence they provided, the targets were directly neutralized by the combat drones.
Bayraktar TB2, which spent a lot of working hours for all these activities, reached 4,000 hours of flight time within the scope of Operation Olive Branch. The total flight time has reached 42,000 since the introduction of the armed and unarmed drones were taken into inventory.
From time to time, UAVs made marking and target descriptions for F16s, F4s and ATAK helicopters. Also used in the adjustment of artillery, UAVs played an important role in the prevention of civilian casualties with precise engagement in all these activities.
The barriers created by terrorists prevent civilians and civil convoys from leaving the territory, were eliminated with the UAVs' ability to strike with precision, allowing thousands of civilians to escape danger without being harmed.
Used in order to provide security for soldiers moving from the land and prevent casualties, UAVs performed their flight missions continuously in Operation Olive Branch despite the harsh conditions such as snow, storm, torrential downpour, fog and intense clouds.
Pushing their flight limits to the end for the full fulfillment of operational duties, UAVs and AUAVs occasionally reached very high altitudes according to the changing weather conditions. Baykar's research and development (R&D) team carried out fieldwork to provide technical support during the operation.
The team performed many software and electronic updating processes on the system according to the conditions of the operation. This allowed the operations to be carried out without any disruption.
The combat drones used the Smart Micro Munition MAM-L, developed by ROKETSAN. For the first time, they were deployed in Operation Olive Branch loaded with 4 MAM-Ls.
MAM-L's armor-piercing, thermobaric-headed types were first used in Operation Olive Branch. In addition, MAM-L's with antipersonnel warheads were also used in a way to blast in the air. With warheads used according to the target type, many successful missions were carried out against possible targets such as light structures, armored land vehicles, radar antennas and weapon emplacement.
With a weight lower than 50 pounds and a height shorter than 1 meter, MAM-L was developed for UAVs in all sizes, as well as for the use in light offense aircraft and for air-to-ground tasks where weight is critical. The MAM-L has a high pulse sensitivity with a laser seeker head.
Bayraktar TB2, which has a record altitude of 27,030 feet for over 24 hours in the air, can carry 150 kilograms of cargo. Bayraktar TB2 can operate day and night with useful loads.
Performing active reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence flights, Bayraktar TB2 has the ability to transmit the images it obtains to operation centers without delay, and to attack targets with its ammunition.
Bayraktar TB2 is currently the first and only armed UAV to be included in the TSK inventory.
The Turkish military reinforced its air support capability with eight new, locally-developed and produced Bayraktar TB2 armed drones, delivered Thursday by Baykar Makina.
Following its delivery of four armed UAVs in October, local drone manufacturer Baykar Makina delivered eight more armed UAVs Thursday, four months ahead of the planned delivery date in June.With the latest delivery, the number of Bayraktar TB2s in the TSK's inventory has risen to 34, in addition to six drones used by the National Police and six others by the Gendarmerie Command. Out of the total 46 Bayraktar TB2s, 23 have been configured to carry munitions.