Turkey's Baykar gives new details about upcoming naval drone
Turkey's Baykar, the manufacturer of the country's well-known Bayraktar TB2, has outlined new details of its upcoming TB3 naval drone, Defense News reported on Friday.
In an online presentation on Wednesday, Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar's chief technology officer, said that the Bayraktar TB3 is still in development but "will be larger and more capable model in the same family as the TB2".
"When we began this project, no fixed-wing UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) could take off from LHD-class, short-runway ships," he added, using the acronym for landing helicopter dock. "We believe that the TB3, which can stay in the air for an extended period and is equipped with ammunition, will fill a gap in this field."
The Turkish Navy's upcoming flagship, the TCG Anadolu, is an LHD based on Spain's Juan Carlos I design.
Turkey had previously contemplated buying the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) version of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II, the F-35B, for the Anadolu. However, Turkey no longer has that option since it was removed from the F-35 program by the United States after it took delivery of Russian S-400 air defence missiles.
With no option for STOVL fighters, Turkey has instead turned to drones.
Bayraktar claimed that the Anadolu won't need any sophisticated systems to launch the drones or help them land.
"A simple roller system and rescue nets would be enough for secure take-off and landing, and it can even land without a rescue net."
The take-off weight of the upcoming TB3 is estimated to be 1450 kilograms. It will have folding wings and be capable of flying for 24 hours a day. Turkey estimates that the Anadolu will be capable of carrying between 30 and 50 TB3s.
At the presentation, Bayraktar also said that the upcoming MIUS unmanned combat aircraft Turkey is planning will also operate from the Anadolu. Turkey plans to fly a prototype of that unmanned aircraft in 2023.