New Turkish armed drone completes its 5th flight test
Nov. 13, 2023, 9:33 a.m.
The testing process of Bayraktar TB3, Türkiye’s new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of being deployed on aircraft carriers, continues at full speed, with manufacturer Baykar recently announcing the drone has completed its fifth flight and flew with the landing gear retracted for the first time.
During its fifth performance test, the new drone flew at medium altitude and performed a successful six-hour flight in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, local media reported recently.
“Bayraktar TB3 successfully completed its fifth flight test,” Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s chief technology officer (CTO), said on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
The TB3 has previously proven itself despite a strong southwest storm in the Marmara region, reaching a speed of 130 kmh (80.78 mph) during its third flight test conducted on Nov. 4, reported Anadolu Agency (AA).
Equipped with the PD-170 engine developed domestically by TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI), the indigenously made UCAV successfully completed the system identification tests at high and low speeds by staying in the air for six hours on Nov. 8.
With its reinforced landing gear, folding wings and a more powerful engine, the TB3 UCAV is designed for deployment on ships like TCG Anadolu, Türkiye’s newly commissioned aircraft carrier.
The drone was publicly exhibited for the first time at this year’s first edition of Türkiye’s premier technology and aerospace festival, Teknofest, held in Istanbul from April 27 to May 1, 2023. It was also showcased at the event’s Ankara and Izmir editions.
Baykar CTO and board Chairperson Selçuk Bayraktar earlier announced plans to begin testing Bayraktar TB3 to operate on the ship as of next year.
With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,450 kilograms (3,196.70 pounds) and a payload capacity of 280 kilograms, the Bayraktar TB3 is nearly two times heavier than its predecessor, the Bayraktar TB2. It is expected to have a range of 1,000 nautical miles, that is, 1,900 kilometers.
Since the beginning of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) related research and development (R&D) studies in 2003, Baykar has earned 83% of all its revenues from exports.
According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) data in 2021 and 2022, it became the export leader of the defense and aerospace industry.
Baykar, whose export rate was 99.3% in the contracts signed in 2022, made exports worth nearly $1.2 billion (TL 34.2 billion) last year.
With the export agreement for Bayraktar TB2 to 32 countries and Bayraktar AKINCI to eight countries so far, Baykar has signed deals to sell its drones to at least 33 countries to date, as per AA.