With Turkish officials acknowledging the operational-level service of the Bayraktar TB2, Turkey becomes just the sixth nation in the world to field a viable Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicle (UCAV). It joined the United States, China, Pakistan, Israel and Iran in the field. These platforms offer considerable advantages when compared to their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) brethren - least of these being an armed ability to seek out and destroy ground elements with precision strikes without exposing human airmen or their very expensive flying machines to danger.
The TB2 is based on the earlier Bayraktar Tactical UAS first flown in 2009 and introduced in 2014. The TB2 is the "armed reconnaissance" form and has already seen successful action against PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) forces - the series' first "kill" was recorded on September 8th, 2016 and many more have followed since.
Turkey has tried, for years, to secure foreign-born UCAV platforms, from the United States and elsewhere, to no avail. As such it turned to local industry to develop an indigenous solution to an indigenous problem and this has led to several notable products emerging: the TAI Anka (detailed elsewhere on this site) and the TB2. The TB2 gained steam in 2015 as a weapons-delivery capability was fleshed out for the Bayraktar Tactical UAS. This led to trials in late 2015 and formal introduction for service in 2016. With all of the work being local in nature, Turkey bypasses any strict arms regulations generally encountered with foreign purchases. Additionally, the TB2 can be evolved as Turkish military needs require making for a more effective long-term solution.
The finalized TB2 sees straight wing mainplanes positioned at midships and aft of a sleek nosecone assembly. The engine is fitted at the rear of the fuselage within a well-contoured housing - aspiration of the powerplant is through small slits on the housing surfaces. The engine powers a two-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" configuration. A twin-boom tail design is used to help clear the engine installation and its propeller. The booms are slim and emanate from the wing root trailing edges, joined together at the rear of the aircraft by conjoined, inward-cranked vertical tail fins also serving as de facto horizontal planes. The wheeled undercarriage is fixed in flight and an optics blister is seen at the ventral line of the fuselage.
By all accounts, the TB2 utilizes proven UAV design and construction practices - from its external arrangement to its internal make-up. It is further classified as a Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) unmanned system. Operators pilot the aircraft from Ground Control Stations (GCSs) and some autonomous capability is built into the flying component.
The aircraft features a pair of hardpoints under the wings, one per wing, that allow for the carrying of various ordnance types including Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) as well as Laser-Guided Bombs (LGBs). All this adds to the precision strike capability so sought after by today's militaries. Beyond the ability to self-designate and strike at ground targets, the series has also been used to laser-designate missile targets for Turkish Army attack helicopters like the American-made HueyCobra.
December 2015 - The TB2 successfully tested the UMTAS anti-tank missile on December 17th, 2015.
April 2018 - Qatar has become the first foreign global operator of the Bayraktar TB2 UAV. The fleet will number six air systems coupled with three Ground Control Stations (GCSs).
November 2018 - It was revealed that the nation of Ukraine has procured the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAV.
February 2020 - The Barayktar TB-2 has been used operationally over Syria by Turkish forces, mainly in the assault to take Idlib.
October 2020 - Azerbaijan has been actively using Turkish-originated Bayraktar TB2 UAVs in the attack role in its war against Armenia.
November 2020 - Armenian forces have claimed the downing of an Azerbaijani TB2 drone.
May 2021 - It was announced that Poland has committed to the purchase of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAV.
July 2021 - The first TB2K drone has been delivered to customer Ukraine.
September 2021 - The nations of Turkey and Ukraine have signed an agreement to maintain and train in the operation of the drone as well as set up local production. Up to 50 of the type may be procured by Ukraine in the deal.
October 2021 - A Ukrainian-controlled Bayraktar TB2K was successfully used to destroyer a Russian D-30 howitzer emplacement in its long-running war in the east. No casualties were reported.
April 2022 - Slovakia is in talks with Turkey to secure a stock of Bayraktar TB2 attack drones.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
36.7 ft (11.20 m)
39.4 ft (12.00 m)
10.5 ft (3.20 m)
926 lb (420 kg)
1,433 lb (650 kg)
+507 lb (+230 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Bayraktar TB2 production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Bayraktar TB2 production variant)
1 x Conventional engine driving propeller unit at rear of fuselage in pusher configuration.
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