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Turkish Drone Diplomacy

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Turkish Drone Diplomacy

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Turkish drones have been all around the headlines in recent months.

They’ve been used in conflict zones such as Libya, against Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), in Syria, as well as mostly recently by Azerbaijan against the Armenian forces in the war for Nagorno-Karabakh.

Israel is still the world’s premiere seller of UAVs; however, Turkey is working hard to contest that position.

This is mostly done due to the fact that the drones appear easy to use, cheap to produce, and rather effective.

This doesn’t only relate to the Bayraktar TB2, even though it is currently the most exported and used Turkish drone.

A number of self-developed, designed and manufactured in Turkey unmanned systems with export potential give the country hope for future cooperation with foreign customers.

Turkish unmanned systems are unique compared to other military platforms such as helicopters and tanks, as they do not need foreign export licenses and have proven their combat capability.

It must be said that the Turkish military has used unmanned systems over the past few years in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkish Baykar Makina, a private Turkish drone manufacturer, was awarded a contract to sell a batch of 12 of its Bayraktar TB2 UAVs to Ukraine, and in 2017 the company sold a batch of six TB2s to Qatar.

In addition, Turkish Baykar Makina in 2019 launched production of a naval version of the drone.

The Bayraktar TB2 Turkish Attack UAV is a mid-altitude tactical unmanned aerial vehicle system that serves as a platform for reconnaissance missions. Each Bayraktar TB2 system consists of six aircraft, two ground control stations, three ground data terminals, two remote video terminals and ground support equipment. The drone has a maximum payload of over 55kg. The standard payload configuration includes an electro-optical camera module, an infrared camera module, a laser designator and a laser rangefinder.

And Turkish companies are hard at work in making the drone entirely indigenous.

Tusas Engine Industries, a national engine manufacturer in Turkey, completed the development phase of a program to create the country’s first unmanned aerial vehicle engine, and initial tests of the PD170 engine were successful, the author notes. It is known that the 2.1 liter PD170 turbodiesel has a capacity of 170 hp. at an altitude of 20 thousand feet and 130 hp at an altitude of 30 thousand feet, and can also operate at a maximum altitude of 40 thousand feet.

Turkish Drone Diplomacy

Click to see full-size image

In addition, armaments are also being developed for the UAVs.

Turkey’s leading defense contractor Rokestan is set to expand its mini smart ammunition (MAM) product family, used by the country’s armed combat drones and other international buyers.

The ammunition with additional features will be used in different platforms, Roketsan Chairperson Murat İkinci said.

İkinci told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development projects have added leverage to the Turkish defense industry and that the Bayraktar TB2 drones, in particular, offered improved opportunities and abilities for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

“The drones were a game-changer in field operations,” he said, reiterating that the country has been actively using several types of UAVs.

Drawing attention to the fact that serious improvements have been made in their development with the feedback and information obtained from the field, İkinci said today the MAM ammunition family is way ahead of its peers.

“It entered our agenda as ammunition that changed the course of the war and provided strike advantage,” he said, adding that they have continued their work in the field.

He said in the upcoming period, new UAVs like Bayraktar Akıncı, a cutting-edge unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) and Aksungur, a domestically produced medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), will be used by the TSK. Both have superior capabilities compared to the current models.

Turkish media outlets also play a significant role in spreading news of the successes of the Turkish UAVs in various battlefields.

Turkey has saved the Libyan government in Tripoli from falling to a rebel army by waging a huge drone war on its behalf, Ahval News reported, citing Al Jazeera.

“Before Turkey stepped up its military intervention in Libya in December 2019, Haftar’s LNA had been gaining the upper hand in its bid to capture Tripoli, which he launched in April 2019. The arrival of Chinese-made Wing Loong drones in 2016 had made a significant difference to the LNA’s military capabilities, and these drones were being used effectively in the battle for Tripoli.”

It strongly reminds of a promotional piece to advertise a product:

“As well as launching air strikes, UAVs can provide valuable intelligence – and northern Libya’s relatively flat featureless desert terrain means that ground units are easily spotted from the air. In the event that drones are shot down, the pilot back at base can launch another drone.”

According to other reports Turkey has even surpassed the UK, by using its own technology to get ahead of London.

Located on the outskirts of Brighton in the UK, EDO MBM Technology devised and supplied a crucial missile component called the Hornet missile rack during the development stages of the Bayraktar TB2. It enabled Turkey to overcome the obstacle set forward by the US’ export ban on the killer drones.

And it all began with Turkey using its drones against the Kurdish PKK in Iraq and Syria.

Then, it used them in Idlib.

Then came Libya’s turn.

And now it’s Nagorno-Karabakh’s turn.

With a list of satisfied customers such as Libya’s Government of National Accord, Azerbaijan, various militant groups in Idlib, there’s more lining up.

Ukraine purchased Bayraktar TB2 drones, after it turned out that the West’s promises for weapon supplies and more tangible support turned out rather misleading.

Qatar has shown interest in procuring more drones.

Azerbaijan is to buy more drones to use against Armenia, and there’s likely to be more lining up.

With its extensive coverage and field testing, with ample videos proving its success, it is no surprise that the Turkish drones are selling quick.

They are cheap, reduce personnel losses in combat situations, are easily supplied since there’s ample stock and ammunition for them.

Turkish developments in the field will continue, both with improving the Bayraktar TB2, coming up with new UAVs, as well as unmanned surface vehicles, and possibly land units later on in the future.

Its sales will also likely rise, since many countries don’t have access to drones from the US and by proxy from Israel, or can’t afford Chinese drones. This and ample evidence that they are effective guarantee a potent stream of profit for future developments.

In addition, Turkey is not simply selling a UAV, it’s rather selling the chance to gain the upper hand in a local conflict, and there’s quite a few of them around the world. Turkey also appears to not be that picky in who it sells to, unlike the US and Israel, for example. After all, Turkey provides drones, training on-site with specialists, it could potentially include some militants deployed from somewhere to sweeten the deal.

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21 comments

  1. HitlerWasRight says:

    the most shot down drone in the world is the tb2

    1. iGold says:

      The Armenian soldiers were mostly killed by TB2

      1. Lcr34 says:

        Haftar’s troops too.

    2. Lelouch Vi Britannia says:

      If you believe fake news, 1000+ tb2 are down. Do you think Turkey produced thousands oft tb2s? Same tb2s killed hafter rats, isis rats, sdf rats, asad rats, Armenian rats, pkk rats, ypg rats ….

      1. HitlerWasRight says:

        syria, russia libya, armenia all lying? hahahaha. isis is israel/turkey/usa

        1. Lelouch Vi Britannia says:

          moron what ISIS did is creating YPG/SDF. It was against us. We are not with USA and Israel. People who like you are biggest morons. Turkey’s policy is independent. We have our interests. All of our enemies tasted tb2 and anka’s missiles. Armenia shutted down only 1. Hafter and Syria shotted down max 3-5. But they were everyday saying we shotted down 10-15. %90 of numbers were lies. We didnt produce more than 100, check southfronts report. These drones arent cheap and Turkey isnt a rich country. Dont be moron. We destroyed Russian air defence systems in Libya, Syria and now in Armenia. Pantsirs, tors, s300, all kind of air systems are destroyed by us. Haftar had to stop when he was almost conquer all the Libya. Assad same. Look at armenia and see how armenian rats are running. We conquered %15-20 of karabaq back when even whole world support armenia. Russia sends weapon, Iran sends weapon, France sends weapons. But we keep on our advance.

          1. HitlerWasRight says:

            you have some funny delusions herschel

          2. Lelouch Vi Britannia says:

            I told facts, but I see you have butthurt. More pain is coming to your ass :P

          3. HitlerWasRight says:

            please i am not gay stay away from my ass that is a mulim thing and i am not muslim maybe you should try lemon party?

          4. Mr T says:

            enjoy the video, many armenian Christian young men died. In one scene you can see the dust becomes blood red when soldiers are hit.

  2. Kohlhaas says:

    As far as I know Serbia is also interested with TB-2.

    1. Lcr34 says:

      They bought some CH92 isnt it?

      1. Kohlhaas says:

        Yeah, I guess so.

  3. Lazy Gamer says:

    What is the max radius of the bayraktar from the ground control station?

    1. Garga says:

      Its comm range is LOS propagation, so the geographic features, altitude of drone and location of ground control plays an important role.
      This kind of communication has a range of max 150-200km in best case scenario, good weather, no mountains, etc
      They can extend the range by deploying comm relays (ground or aerial), in this case the 150-200km distance is between GC to relay and another 150-200lm from relay to UAV.
      This particular model’s fuselage is too small to contain a sat uplink.

      1. Erol says:

        There is also a newer Version of TB-2 with Satellite Control in development.

  4. Random Dude says:

    Karabakh has been a great advertisement for these drones. And Armenians have been great stunt actors. No wonder why so many Armenians live in Hollywood.

    1. Servet Köseoğlu says:

      and they decided to use models:)))it doesnt work any-way..
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6866b6ec4baa8b6d347129b7e896e764b2e48e9c991a9d1f52692e771c842582.jpg

      1. Random Dude says:

        they forgot the heat signature

      2. murat says:

        They learn it from the pkk. This is what the pkk scums were doing in syria.

    2. Mr T says:

      Bollywood…

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