Turkey's indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) has achieved another significant success and set a new record in Turkish aviation by flying uninterruptedly for 27 hours and 3 minutes in tough geographical and climatic conditions such as high temperatures and sand storms, raising its previous 24-hour and 34-minute endurance record.
A statement released yesterday by Baykar Makina, manufacturer of the leading unmanned air system Bayraktar TB2, said the record came during national armed drone participation in a demo flight in Kuwait.
The Bayraktar TB2 is one of the world's best-armed UAVs, considering its capabilities and performance in Turkey's counterterror operations. The drone was first delivered for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2014 and upgraded with armament for the first time in 2015. It is currently used by the Gendarmerie General Command, the General Directorate of Security Forces and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in their operations.
Traveled around Kuwait four times
The drone took off from the runway in Kuwait on Tuesday, July 16 at 5:05 p.m. for its historic flight at an altitude of 17,000 feet in the presence of military delegations. Despite harsh weather conditions such as sand storms, high temperatures exceeding 42 degrees Celsius and turbulence, the historic flight was completed with a successful landing on Wednesday, July 17 at 8:08 p.m. In 2014, the Bayraktar TB2 became the national aircraft with the longest endurance in Turkish aviation history, flying for 24 hours and 34 minutes straight.
Despite the 40 knots blowing wind and turbulence during the takeoff and landing of test and demo performance, the flights were successfully carried out. The national armed UAV covered a 4,000-kilometer range during the historic flight. In this way, the Bayraktar TB2 traveled around Kuwait four times: 961 kilometers of land and sea borders during the record flight.
110,000 flight hours completed
Turkish security forces have been deploying 86 armed Bayraktar TB2 in their military operations at home and abroad since 2014. The Turkish military deployed the Bayraktar TB2 in Operations Hendek (Trench), Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, helping experts achieve operational goals before the planned period and reducing casualties. Baykar Makina's armed drone performed more than 90 percent of all the aerial operations, flying over 5,300 hours.
The Bayraktar TB2 is now playing an important role in the ongoing Operation Claw, launched on May 27 against the PKK terror group in northern Iraq, as well as in critical tasks in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean as part of Navy Command. Bayraktar TB2s have so far left behind 110,000 flight hours.
With its advanced electronics, software, aerodynamics, design, submain systems, as well as flight automation and performance, the Bayraktar TB2 stands out as one of the most advanced UAV systems in its class.
Performing active reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence flights, the Bayraktar TB2 has the ability to transmit images to operation centers without delay and engage targets.
Invited by the State of Kuwait for a demo flight, the Bayraktar TB2 is competing with the best countries in the world in this field. The national armed UAV, the first advanced aircraft to be exported in the history of the republic, is closely followed by the world aviation and defense industry. Under agreements, Bayraktar TB2s were exported to Ukraine, which has a 100-year history in aviation and produces the world's largest aircraft, and then to Qatar. Negotiations continue with other countries interested in the national armed UAV.
In January, Bayraktar signed an agreement with Ukrainian company Ukrspetsproject for the purchase of 12 Turkish Bayraktar TB2s for the Ukrainian army. Bayraktar also signed a deal with Qatar to sell six drones for Qatari forces in March 2018.
The Bayraktar TB2, which has a fully autonomous taxi, takeoff, normal cruising and landing capability with three redundant avionics systems and sensor fusion architecture, can carry 4 MAM-L and MAM-C missiles produced by leading defense contractor Roketsan on its wings.
Featuring precise targeting with the built-in laser marker, the national armed UAV offers a fast "see-and-shoot" all-in-one solution to prevent possible damage to areas close to the target. With these features, Turkey stands out as one of the six countries producing its own armed UAV and ammunition in the world.
The national armed UAV, which has a 93 percent local content ratio, provides reconnaissance, continuous aerial surveillance, target detection and destruction.
In the meantime, Baykar Makina is currently developing a two-engine armed drone called Akıncı, which is dubbed "the flying fish" given its shape and will start test flights soon. The Akıncı armed drone will be equipped with a domestically developed sightline and satellite communication system, electronic support pod, multipurpose air radar, synthetic aperture radar and meteorological radar. The platform will operate with various ammunition configurations.
The Akıncı system can reach an altitude of 40,000 feet and has the capability of flying for 24 hours straight. It has a capacity of useful load of up to 350 kilograms. With these features, Akıncı can perform some of the duties of fighter jets.
The company engages in engineering operations in five main areas, including electronics, software, communication systems and design of air vehicles, with a team of young engineers. The domestically developed UAVs are manufactured at Baykar's facility in Istanbul.