The Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) Turkey exported to Djibouti was displayed for the first time at the military parade for the East African country’s 45th independence anniversary. Baykar, the company that developed the combat drone, shared the images of the UCAV during the parade via its official Twitter account, celebrating the independence anniversary. With this statement, the export of Bayraktar TB2s to Djibouti became official, which had not been confirmed by the company earlier despite several news reports circulating in the media.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by the Turkish company Baykar Makina Sanayi ve Ticaret A.?., 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. Bayraktar TB2, the battle-proven drone used in Syria, Libya, Karabakh and Ukraine, is the most exported UCAV around the world and has been sold to over 21 countries, including Djibouti.
As of 26 November 2021, the TB2 drone had completed 400,000 flight-hours globally. The largest operator of TB2 drones is the Turkish military but an export model has been sold to the militaries of a number of other countries. Turkey has used the drone extensively in strikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets in Iraq and Syria. In the subsequent years, Bayraktar drones were deployed by a number of other nations around the world in various wars, such as by Azerbaijan in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and by Ukrainian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The TB2, which has a 12-meter (40-foot) wingspan and can soar to 25,000 feet before swooping in to destroy tanks and artillery with laser-guided armor-piercing bombs, helped undermine Russia’s overwhelming military superiority, which gained it the worldwide fame. The Bayraktar drone has also received attention from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Russian Defense Ministry has mentioned it at least 45 times in public since the war began on Feb. 24. The TB2 has been such a decisive factor in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Karabakh and now Ukraine that it spearheads Turkey’s global defense export push.