Weeks after reports suggested that the Bayraktar TB2 drones had disappeared from the skies above Ukraine, the Turkish-origin drone made a grand comeback by destroying a Russian patrol boat and military truck in the Kherson region on the same day.
The video, published on the official social media account of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on September 3, shows the destruction of a Russian patrol boat of the KS-701 Tunet-class, which was struck by the famed TB2 Bayraktar unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). The patrol boat was struck while the troops were still disembarking.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, the incident occurred in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. In a post on platform X, the ministry wrote: “The closure of the beach season in Kherson region was spectacular for the Russians. The patrol boat KS-701 was destroyed, six occupants were eliminated, and two more were injured.”
After the video went viral on social media, OSINT and Naval Analyst HI Sutton said in a post on X that the version of the K-702 boat seen in the video had outboard motors and a hatch in the front of the cabin. The standard variant, in contrast, has inboard motors and a different cabin, he noted.
In a separate post, another open-source site ‘Oryx’ said that up to 20 Bayraktar TB2s are still in service with Ukraine and working as long-range reconnaissance drones. EurAsian Times, however, could not independently verify that number.
The closure of the beach season in Kherson region turned out to be spectacular for the russians. The patrol boat KS-701 was destroyed, six occupants were eliminated, and two more were injured.
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 3, 2023
In a separate incident, another video went viral on social media showing the destruction of a Russian military’s Ural truck in the Kherson region, allegedly by the TB2 Bayraktar UCAV again. With two videos showing the TB2 drones back in action, military watchers on social media humored that the Ukranian military seemed to be playing with a “new set of toys.”
These attacks were reported when intense fighting occurred in the Kherson oblast. Russian forces have been relentlessly shelling the region, causing civilian casualties. Last fall, Ukraine recaptured Kherson from Russia in what came as its biggest territorial gain of the war.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) September 3, 2023
However, the more significant news here is neither Kherson nor the destruction of the Russian patrol boat. It is the emergence of Turkish-origin TB2 drones over Ukrainian skies after weeks of absence. In fact, in April, military watchers concluded that the drones had almost disappeared from Ukraine.
With TB2 annihilating two targets — one on land and another on the sea — on September 3, some military watchers like Chuck Pfarrer took the opportunity to focus on TB2’s capability. Pfarrer is a former SEAL Team Six Squadron Leader and a Conflict Correspondent.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: The Ukrainian stalwart, the Turkish-designed BayraktarTB2 UCAV, is still prowling for Russian targets. The TB-2 can deliver the light-weight MAM-C ground attack missile that can deliver precision strikes at a distance of 8 Km. pic.twitter.com/D84U8Rsv7a
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) September 3, 2023
“The Ukrainian stalwart, the Turkish-designed BayraktarTB2 UCAV, is still prowling for Russian targets. The TB-2 can deliver the light-weight MAM-C ground attack missile that can deliver precision strikes at a distance of 8 Km,” read the post.
TB2 Drones Don’t Seem To Be Leaving Ukraine
In its conflict with Russian soldiers, Ukraine has long used unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) Bayraktar TB2 developed in Turkey. According to its manufacturer, the medium-altitude, long-endurance drone can function as both — a surveillance asset and an attack drone.
Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones were hailed as Ukraine’s savior and the future of warfare in the early months of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Numerous claims and videos have shown Ukraine employing these drones to attack Russian patrol boats, armor, and tanks.
Some reports indicated that the TB2 drones were employed in the operation where the Ukrainian military destroyed the Russian cruiser Moskva by firing its homemade Neptune anti-ship missiles in the summer of 2022.
By December, the Turkish-origin UAVs were believed to have largely vanished from the battlefield, raising doubts about their efficiency. Military experts attributed this to the Russian electronic warfare capability and their jamming of Ukrainian drones, including the TB2, after being offset by their initial shocking impact.
The TB2 reemerged on the battlefield scene again in March 2023 with reports suggesting that a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet had attempted to shoot down the drone over the Black Sea, days after a US MQ-9 Reaper went down into the Black Sea after an encounter with the Flankers.
Later, in April, the Russian commander of the Air Defense Force announced that more than 100 Bayraktar-TB drones provided to Ukraine had been destroyed during the Ukraine war. However, Ukraine has officially received only 50 TB2 drones from Turkey.
Less than a month later, in May, the Ukrainian air force reported bringing down one of its Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones over Kyiv, dispelling the claims that Kyiv had run out of these drones and they had disappeared entirely.
Despite several of them being shot down and their potency against Russian jamming and air defense under the scanner, it is certain now that the TB2s are still in action in Ukraine.
In July, reports suggested that the Turkish defense company Baykar had already started constructing a factory in Ukraine to produce Bayraktar drones, further lending credence to the assumption that Kyiv wasn’t planning to do away with TB2 drones soon.
The number of TB2 drones received by Ukraine and those lost in combat could not be corroborated, as several sets of claims have emerged over the months.
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