Baykar Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle
Ukrainian Air Force Bayraktar TB2 Baykar Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

New Batch of Baykar Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles Arrives in Ukraine

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced that new Bayraktar TB2 combat drones have arrived from Turkey and are being deployed in the field. These new drones add onto the 12 Bayraktar TB2s in Ukraine’s inventory being used in the air and naval forces. The delivery comes amidst the Russian invasion into Ukrainian borders. The drone are capable of inflicting disproportionate damage on enemy hardware, far more cheaply than other drones, and at low risk. the Bayraktar drones were sold to Ukraine at a cost in the single-digit millions of dollars each but that the Russian surface-to-air missile system destroyed in the video on Sunday could be worth up to $50 million.

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 made a separate order of 6 additional Bayraktar TB2s, delivered in 2020, according to Armed Forces officials. Meanwhile, Turkish and Ukrainian officials have announced the establishment of a joint venture to produce 48 additional Bayraktar TB2s in Ukraine. 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.

Ukrainian Armed Forces Bayraktar TB2 Combat Drone
Ukrainian Air Force Bayraktar TB2 Baykar Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle armed with MAM-L, two ground control stations in the background

This was the first operationalization of the aircraft by the Ukrainian Forces within an active conflict zone. 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. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has been used against Russian supply convoys. Ukraine’s ministry of defense credits the UAV system with “eviscerating Russian tanks and armor in their first use in a major conflict”.

The Bayraktar TB2 is a 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 are monitored and controlled by an aircrew in a Ground Control Station, including weapons employment. The development of the UAV has been largely credited to Selçuk Bayraktar, a former MIT graduate student. While the Turkish Armed Forces describes Bayraktar TB2 as “Tactical UAV Class” to prevent it from being a competitor to the TAI Anka UAV, international standards would classify it as a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV.

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