The Baykar Bayraktar TB3 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which is aimed to serve on the TCG ANADOLU, has successfully completed its landing gear cutting test. This milestone was officially announced via Baykar‘s official Twitter account. The Bayraktar TB3 had already completed its first taxi test successfully. The Baykar Bayraktar TB3 is a Turkish medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of short-range landing and take-off, produced by Baykar. It is currently being developed due to the lack of aircraft to be deployed on the TCG Anadolu amphibious assault ship. According to the initial plans the ship was expected to be equipped with Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighter jets but following the removal of Turkey from the procurement program, the vessel entered a modification process to allow it to be able to accommodate UCAVs.
The Bayraktar TB3 features foldable wings for efficient storage during transport.Expected to grace the skies in 2023, the Bayraktar TB3 is anticipated to be deployed in quantities ranging from 30 to 40 units on the TCG ANADOLU. Making use of the ship’s deck, the Bayraktar TB3 will be capable of short take-offs and arrested landings, STOBAR style. Furthermore, it’s reported that a command center integrated with the TCG ANADOLU will enable the simultaneous operation of at least 10 Bayraktar TB3 in various missions. With its ability to take off from amphibious assault ships and remain airborne for over 24 hours, the TB3 represents a promising alternative for this class of vessels, as it can offer reconnaissance, target designation, and close air support in amphibious landing scenarios.
The unmanned combat aerial vehicle is set to be equipped with an impressive array of armaments, including the Smart Micro Munition (MAM-L) and its high-explosive counterpart, MAM-C. The aircraft boasts six hardpoints designed to accommodate laser-guided smart munitions, with the flexibility to carry a combination of powerful systems, such as the Long Range Anti-tank Missile System (L-UMTAS), various precision-guided MAM munitions (MAM-C, MAM-L, and MAM-T), the Roketsan Cirit 70mm Missile System, TUBITAK-SAGE BOZOK Laser Guided Rockets, TUBITAK-SAGE TOGAN air-to-surface launched 81mm mortar munitions, and TUBITAK-SAGE KUZGUN modular joint ammunition. Additionally, it features the KUZGUN-TjM with a turbojet engine variant, offering a range of 245 kilometers, and the KUZGUN-SS with a free-soaring variant, boasting a range of 110 kilometers.
The TB3 is the latest version of Turkish manufacturer Baykar’s powerful TB line of assault drones. The TB3 is larger than the TB2 (280 kg versus 150 kg). The new TB3 UAV has a payload capacity of 280 kilograms, which is significantly higher than the payload capacity of TB2 at 150 kilograms. While the TB2 can travel at a maximum speed of 70 to 120 knots, the TB3 can cruise at 125 to 160 knots. The TB3’s maximum takeoff weight is 1,450 kilograms, almost double of TB-2’s 700 kilograms. It has a length of 8.3 meters, a height of 2.6 meters, and a wingspan of 14 meters. In contrast, the TB2 has a length of 6.5 meters, a height of 2.2 meters, and a wingspan of 12 meters. The TB3 is said to have an endurance of 24+ hours, according to the official website.