On June 9, Libyan sources released a video showing a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unnamed combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) flying west of the country’s capital, Tripoli.
The footage is the first evidence to confirm that Turkey is operating UCAVs over Libya in order to support the Government of National Accord (GNA). The Libyan National Army (LNA) has been warning about this for more than a week now.
The Bayraktar TB2, which was first introduced in 2014, has an endurance of 24 hours. The UCAV can carry up to four precision-guided munitions from the Turkish-made MAM family.
Cemal Acar, a Turkish defense observer on Twitter, released photos showing two ground control stations (GCSs) for the Bayraktar TB2 in Tripoli.
Libya’ya gönderilen zırhlı araçlarla beraber, Bayraktar TB2’nin yer kontrol istasyonlarının da gönderildiği iddia ediliyor.
— Cemal Acar (@Acemal71) June 9, 2019
The control stations were reportedly shipped from the Turkish port of Samsun to Tripoli aboard a Moldavia-flagged ship named “AMAZON,” last month. The same shipment included more than 20 BMC Vuran and BMC Kirpi mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles.
Earlier this week, the LNA claimed that its warplanes destroyed a Turkish UCAV in Mitiga airbase west of the Libyan capital. Its remains unknown if the Bayraktar TB2 was indeed destroyed in the airstrike.
The deployment of UCAVs in Libya is an unprecedented step by Turkey, that’s is known for being a key ally of the GNA. This step will likely lead to more tensions between Ankara and the LNA’s Arab backers.