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TAI Aksungur


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)


The TAI Aksungur is a twin-engine, twin-boom evolution of the existing TAI Anka UAV line - with availability hoped for in 2020.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 5/13/2019
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Specifications


Year: 2020
Status: In-Development
Manufacturer(s): Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) - Turkey
Production: 2
Capabilities: Ground Attack; Close-Air Support (CAS); Reconnaissance (RECCE); Unmanned;
Crew: 0
Weight (Empty): 3,968 lb (1,800 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 7,275 lb (3,300 kg)
Power: 2 x Thielert "Centurion" 4-cylinder engines of 170 horsepower (testing) OR 2 x TEI PD170 turbodiesel engines developing between 170-220 horsepower; driving 2 x Three-bladed propeller units at the boom heads.
Speed: 155 mph (250 kph; 135 kts)
Ceiling: 40,026 feet (12,200 m; 7.58 miles)
Range: 4,039 miles (6,500 km; 3,510 nm)
Operators: Turkey (possible)
Like China, Turkey has whole-heartedly embraced many local initiatives concerning the design, development, and production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to cover various roles in military, law enforcement, border / state security, and national intelligence. This had led to a bevy of local industry players, such as Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), to fast-track programs like the "Anka" and deliver capable UAV systems to the Turkish armed forces and other awaiting services/departments. The Anka was introduced in 2013 and is currently a part of both the Turkish Air Force and the General Directorate of Security.

From the framework of the Anka has arisen a twin-engine, twin-boom evolution intended for broader support of Turkish in-service munitions as well as tactical over-battlefield roles. This is the "Aksungur" which is in prototype testing stages as of this writing (2019). A second prototype was unveiled at the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) of Istanbul to drum up interest in the new product.

The design sports a straight-winged planform with slight tapering of the trailing edges and small winglets positioned at the tips. The wings are high-mounted along the centralized fuselage section which holds the avionics fit, various camera and sensor systems, and fuel stores. The nose has a chin-mounted camera "blister" with full 360-degree rotation and the typical bulbous housing. The twin booms straddle either side of the fuselage and are held outboard of the wing roots, each boom given an engine nacelle driving three-bladed propeller units in puller configuration. The booms taper towards the rear and terminate in vertical tail fins. The fins are joined at their base by a shared horizontal stabilizer. The aircraft uses a tricycle undercarriage for ground-running with all three legs being single-wheeled. The nose leg retracts under the nose and the main legs retract under and aft of each engine nacelle.

At this point, the aircraft is slated to have a mission endurance window of about 24 hours and fly to altitudes of 40,000 feet based on press releases. Early forms will be powered by the German Thielert "Centurion" 4-cylinder model of 170 horsepower output though plans are in the works to ultimately have Turkish local industry takeover and produce a similar 170 horsepower of turbodiesel design. From this is hoped to evolve an engine outputting upwards of 220 horsepower before project's end.

The Aksungur is currently (2019) in flight-testing which is planned to wrap up before the end of 2019. Included in these tests will be munitions mounting and delivery of in-service Turkish army ordnance. Plans are underway to make the Aksungur available to the mass market sometime in 2020. Beyond the basic UAV offering, two distinct production versions are also being planned: one centers on a SIGnals InTelligence (SIGINT) model, with additional sensors and equipment, and a Maritime Patrol (MP) model capable of long-range, over-water operations with support for a sonobouy as well as surface-search radar.

Program Updates



April 2019 - Two prototypes of the Aksungur have been proposed with the second debuted at the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul.






Armament



Payload of up to 1,650lb (750 kg). Supported weaponry to run the gamut of current-generation precision-guided drop bombs, conventional drop bombs, and Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) as well as general air-to-surface missiles (perhaps even including anti-ship missiles in the proposed Maritime Patrol variant).

Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition

Variants / Models



• Aksungur - Base Project Name.
• Aksungur SIGINT - SIGnals INTelligence platform being proposed.
• Aksungur MP - Maritime Patrol model being proposed.
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