The number of armed drones in the Gendarmerie forces' inventory has reached 18 with the latest delivery of six Bayraktar Tactical Block 2's (TB2), which are domestically produced by Turkey's Baykar Makina and are mostly being used in counterterrorism operations.
After they successfully completed their performance and functional tests, the drones were delivered to Gendarmerie forces on Friday, along with three ground control stations. With the latest supplies, the total number of armed drones in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has reached 58. The Bayraktar TB2 armed drones have been operationally used since 2015, and are the first and only armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to be included in the TSK inventory. They have provided critical tactical support to the Turkish military in their fight against terrorism, particularly against PKK terrorists, who have been stationed in mountainous regions in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. The drones also have provided effective surveillance, reconnaissance and fire support to Turkish military in the Operations Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, which were carried out against PKK-affiliated groups and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria, and enabled a swift and precise victory in these operations.
Developed and produced nationally and originally with electronic, software, aerodynamic, design and submain systems, the Bayraktar TB2 is one of the world's most advanced UAV systems in its class with its flight automation and performance.
It boasts a record altitude of 8,239 meters (27,030 feet) for over 24 hours in the air, can carry 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of cargo and can be operated day and night.
The combat drones use the Smart Micro Munition MAM-L, developed by Turkey's ROKETSAN defense company. For the first time, they were deployed in Operation Olive Branch loaded with 4 MAM-Ls. MAM-L's armor-piercing, thermobaric-tipped munitions 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 emplacements.