Aerial Warfare

Turkey’s Baykar Kizlelma Unmanned Combat Aerial Cehicle Hits Final Assembly Line

Turkey’s Baykar Kizlelma Unmanned Combat Aircraft Hits Final Assembly Line
Turkey’s Baykar Kizlelma Unmanned Combat Aircraft Hits Final Assembly Line

Turkey’s maker Baykar announced it has reached a new phase in its unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) project, unveiling that the first prototype has entered the production line. MIUS (Muharip Insansiz Ucak Sistemi – Unmanned Combat Aircraft System) has been named Kizlelma (“Red Apple”), referring to an expression in Turkish mythology that symbolizes goals, ideas or dreams that are far away, but are more attractive the further that distance may be. MUIS will be jet-powered and is expected to be capable of taking off from and landing on Turkish Navy amphibious assault ship Anadolu (L-400). The first prototype was earlier said to be expected to make its maiden flight in 2023, if not before.

TCG Anadolu is said to be the first of its kind in the world as a vessel that allows the landing of UCAVs on its dock. Instead of the F-35B STOVL version, in the short term the Turkish Navy will operate domestically-produced UCAVs such as the Bayraktar TB3. It will be used in multipurpose operations and is set to be delivered this year. Baykar is currently working on the Bayraktar TB3 UCAV, an upgraded version of the company’s famed Bayraktar TB2. MIUS and TB3 will both extend Turkey’s drone capabilities from land-based to naval operations as they will both be able to take off from TCG Anadolu. The autonomously maneuvering MIUS will be capable of operating in tandem with piloted aircraft, and may carry air-to-air missiles.

Baykar Kizlelma is near the TB2 drones in the production line
Baykar Kizlelma is near the TB2 in the production line

The unmanned fighter jet is projected to conduct a multitude of military actions, such as strategic offensives, close air support (CAS), missile offensives, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD). Baykar in November signed a contract with Ivchenko-Progress, one of the leading Ukrainian companies for the procurement of engines for the MIUS. Ivchenko-Progress was projected to supply the AI-322F Turbofan engine for the jet under the agreement. The aircraft is set to feature a high operational altitude and takeoff weight of 5,500 kilograms (12,125 pounds). It is envisaged to carry 1.5 tons of useful payload. It is projected to be capable of flying for five hours and reaching speeds of up to 800 kph (500 mph or Mach 0.64).

Bayraktar Kizlelma will be equipped with an AESA radar developed by Turkey’s leading defence company Aselsan and will be capable of launching indigenous Bozdogan, Gokdogan, SOM-J and MAM missiles. The Bozdogan WVRAAM (Within Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile) will use off-boresight capable IIR (Imaging infrared) seeker with all aspect engagement capability and counter-countermeasure capability. Gokdogan BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile) has solid-state active radio frequency smart seeker with fire and forget capability and electronic counter-countermeasures. The SOM is a next-generation autonomous, stealth, high precision cruise missile. MAM is a family of GPS/INS and laser-guided smart munitions produced by Turkish defence industry manufacturer Roketsan.

The renderings of Kizlelma unmanned combat aircraft aboard LHD Anadolu
The renderings of Turkish Navy Kizlelma unmanned combat aircraft aboard LHD Anadolu
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