A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drone belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces is patrolling the Black Sea. As a part of its military modernization program the Armed Forces of Ukraine acquired 12 Bayraktar TB2s in 2019. After the successful use of the aircraft the Ukrainian Navy had ordered a separate order of 5 additional Bayraktar TB2s, delivered in 2020 according to navy officials. Meanwhile, Turkish and Ukrainian officials have announced the establishment of a joint venture to produce 48 additional Bayraktar TB2s in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Joint Force Commander Lieutenant-General Sergey Nayev claimed that Bayraktar strike drones always took to the skies with an ammunition load for their employment “where a reinforcement is necessary.” During a Russian military buildup in Crimea and near Ukraine’s borders, a Bayraktar TB2 conducted a reconnaissance flight over the Donbas region on 9 April 2021. In October 2021, a Bayraktar TB2 drone was used for the first time in combat during the war, targeting a Russian separatist artillery position, destroying a D-30 howitzer, and halting the bombardment of Ukrainian troops near Hranitne.
Russian agency TASS reported that Russia’s Permanent Representative at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Alexander Lukashevich said at a meeting of the organization’s Permanent Council in Vienna that the use of such aircraft was prohibited by the Minsk Accords and also by an Additional Package of Ceasefire Control Measures agreed in July 2020. The German and French foreign ministries expressed their concern over the reports of the use of Bayraktar drones by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a Turkish medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by the Turkish company Baykar Defence, primarily for the Turkish Armed Forces. The aircraft is monitored and controlled by an aircrew in the Ground Control Station, including weapons employment, via Türksat satellite. Bayraktar means “ensign” or “standard-bearer” in Turkish. The development of the UAV has been largely credited to Selçuk Bayraktar, a former MIT graduate student.