Fri, 05/17/2019 – 21:17
The Baykar Bayraktar TB2 is a Group 4 UAV powered by a single Rotax 912 engine which produces 100 shaft horse power (SHP). The Bayraktar TB2 is in service with multiple branches of the Turkish Armed forces as well as the Qatari Emiri Air Force and Ukrainian Army.
The Bayraktar Makina company was founded in 1984 as an automotive subcomponents manufacturing firm which shifted to UAV and aeronautics manufacturing in the early 2000s. Selçuk Bayraktar returned to Turkey and took leadership of his father’s company in 2007 following his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s PHD program in Aeronautics. The company’s first UAV orders came in 2006. The Turkish Land Forces ordered the handheld Bayraktar mini UAV, all of which were delivered by 2007. As early as 2007, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (then SSM, now called the SSB) was examining launching a UAV demonstration and prototyping effort to produce a tactical UAV capable of attaining a service ceiling of 18,000 feet, carrying a 35 kg payload (77 lbs.) and having an endurance of 10 hours.
The resulting Bayraktar Tactical Block 1 (TB1) first flew in June 2009. A TB1 demonstration for government officials followed in September. Concurrent to Baykar’s demonstration, discussions between Turkey and Israel regarding the sale of Heron UAVs was deteriorating. Prime Minister Erdogan accused Israel of sabotaging the Heron’s sensors and withholding spares and maintenance support. Negotiations for a potential purchase of UAVs from Baykar lasted until January 2012. The improved TB2 evolved from the TB1 design to meet Turkish requirements. The TB1 and TB2 share a similar external layout except for the inverted V-tail on the TB2. The TB1 had a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 992 lbs. (450 kg) and a wingspan of 30 feet (9 meters).
The Bayraktar TB2’s design is characterized by its twin-boom with pusher prop and inverted V-tail configuration. The airframe is largely comprised of composite materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber. The TB2 has a MTOW of 1433 lbs. (650 kg) and service ceiling of 24,000 feet – the minimum specifications required for DoD Group 4 classification are MTOW of 1,320 lbs. and service ceiling exceeding 18,000 feet. The UAV has a wingspan of 39 feet (12 meters), length of 21 feet (6.5 meters) and payload capacity of approximately 121 lbs. (55 kg). Each Bayraktar TB2 system can consist of up to six air vehicles as well as two FLIR payloads (type dependent upon configuration), two remote video terminals, two generators and two ground control stations.
Unarmed early production examples, described above.
The TB2 Silahli Insansiz Hava Araci (SIHA, meaning armed unmanned air vehicle) or TB2-S is the armed variant of the Bayraktar. The TB2-S adds two additional hardpoints per wing, for a total of four, which can accommodate Roketsan MAM-L and MAM-C miniature munitions. The Payload capacity has been increased from 121 lbs. (55 kg) to 331 lbs. (150 kg.) Some aircraft are equipped with a L3 CMX-15D EO/IR turret whereas earlier aircraft primarily use the Airbus GOSHAWK-II HDT EO/IR turret.
Production and Delivery History
As of January 2019, Baykar had delivered 75 TB2s to Turkish customers. The Turkish Ministry of National Defence expects up to 151 Bayraktars of all types could be ordered by the Turkish Government, of which 112 would be armed TB2-S.
Turkish Land Forces
Baykar was awarded a contract in 2012 for an initial batch of 12 TB2s with options for an additional six aircraft. The first dozen airframes were delivered to the Turkish Land Forces (TLF) from November 2014 to June 2015. In July 2016, a contract for a third Bayraktar Tactical system of six vehicles was signed. The order was fulfilled by June 2017. As of the time of this writing, the TLF had 20 TB2-S and 13 TB2 aircraft in its inventory, accounting for operational losses in Syria.
The Turkish Navy plans to acquire 10 armed TB2-S Bayraktars. As of the time of this writing, five TB2-S aircraft have been delivered to the Navy.
Gendarmerie General Command
The Gendarmerie General Command (GGC) also falls under the Interior Ministry and performs a variety of functions including border security, maintaining public order, counter terrorism, etc. The GGC ordered one system of six armed Bayraktar TB2s each as well as options for another complete system of TB2-S UAVs. By June 2018, the GGC had a total inventory of 4 TB2s and 8 TB2-S UAVs.
On January 12, 2019, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the acquisition of Bayraktar TB2s for the Ukrainian Army. The $69 million contract includes 6 TB2-S model aircraft, 200 miniature munitions and 3 ground control stations. All the Bayraktars were delivered by March of that year.
In March 2018, the Qatar ordered six TB2-S UAVs with three ground control stations and associated FLIR equipment (likely the CMX-15). The contract also includes two years of logistics support services. Qatar’s Bayraktars are expected to be armed with Roketsan MAM-L and MAM-C munitions. As of February 2019, Bayraktar had completed Qatar’s order and 55 personnel – including maintenance technicians and pilots, had been trained.