Togo, officially the Togolese Republic (Republique Togolaise) is now the latest user to acquire Bayraktar TB2 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) from Turkey. Togo plans to use Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2s to monitor its northern part, and to support its fighting forces, which is fighting the infiltration of jihadist fighters moving south from Burkina Faso. Military Africa reported that the sale came almost immediately after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the Togolese President and others in the Togolese capital Lome in October 2021 to discuss the safety situation and what can be done to improve it.
African states are increasingly acquiring Turkish drones to fight armed groups after they proved to be effective in various conflicts around the world. This Turkish-made weapon had already proved its effectiveness in helping Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Recent weeks have seen a consignment of Bayraktar TB2s delivered to the West African state of Togo, which is struggling to curb the infiltration of jihadist fighters moving south from Burkina Faso. For African buyers, especially poorer countries, drones provide the chance to develop significant air power without the vast cost in equipment and years of elite training required to develop a conventional air strike force of manned jets.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a MALE UCAV capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by the Turkish company Baykar Makina Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., primarily for the Turkish Armed Forces. The aircraft are monitored and controlled by an aircrew in a ground control station, including weapons employment. Baykar, the manufacturer of the Bayraktar TB2 drone, is headed by two brothers – chief executive Haluk Bayraktar and his brother Selçuk, chief technology officer, who happens to be married to President Erdogan’s daughter Sumeyye. The call sign of the tracked aircraft TB2T297, the speed and altitude indicate that the drone was of Turkish production.
The Bayraktar TB2 platform has a blended wing body design with an inverted V-tail structure. Thrust is generated by a variable pitch two-blade propeller in pusher configuration. The TB2 has four L3Harris Hornet bomb racks for single-lugged 23 kg/50 lbs smart micro-munitions, with provisions to carry combinations of: MAM guided bombs, L-UMTAS (Long Range Anti tank Missile System), Roketsan Cirit (70 mm Missile System), TUBITAK-SAGE BOZOK Laser Guided Rockets, TUBITAK-SAGE TOGAN quad rack of GPS/INS guided 81 mm mortars. The TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle had completed 400,000 flight-hours globally. On July 1st, 2022 open-source flight information tracked a TB2 drone flight in FlightRadar24. 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.