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Better, Bigger, Heavier: Turkey Unveils Bayraktar TB3 Drone; To Be Deployed With Kizilelma On Naval Drone Carrier

After the combat success demonstrated by the Bayraktar TB2 drone in the ongoing Ukraine war, Turkey, with a burgeoning drone manufacturing industry, has released the first images of its brand-new Bayraktar TB3 drone.

Selcuk Bayraktar, the CTO of Baykar Technologies, shared pictures of the Bayraktar TB3 on the production line. These first sets of photos were released following Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the Ozdemir Bayraktar National Technological Center on March 26, 2023.

The development of the TB3 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was first announced in 2020. The Turkish TCG Anadolu amphibious assault vessel has been designated as the planned operational base for the unmanned aircraft.

Further, according to the reports, the TB3 will fly alongside the Bayraktar Kizilelma, a carrier-capable “unmanned fighter jet.”

Incidentally, Turkish President Erdogan posted a photo on his social networks in front of the Bayraktar Kizilelma on the same day when the images of the TB-3 drone were released. Turkey’s first unmanned fighter jet, the Kizilelma, is currently undergoing testing.

The cutting-edge TB3 is the latest version of Turkish manufacturer Baykar’s powerful TB line of assault drones. The TB3 is a naval drone operating from small runways and ship decks. EurAsian Times had previously reported that the drone was meant to take its first flight by the end of last year.

Selcuk Bayraktar shared TB3’s photos taken from three different angles. “Images taken before Ramadan of the “fish,” the first of its kind with the ability to fold its wings, seen on the production line in the photos we shared today… #BayraktarTB3 Counting the days to his first flight after his big brother #KIZILELMA… Have a blessed Sahur…” he tweeted.

Selcuk Bayraktar’s post on Twitter received more than sixty-five thousand likes, making it one of the most interacted tweets of the day.

The TB3 drone is particularly hogging the limelight due to the combat success of the Bayraktar TB2 drone in the ongoing Ukraine conflict. According to experts, the TB3 will benefit from the TB2’s stated operational success globally, especially in conflicts in Syria, Libya, Karabakh, and now Ukraine.

The platform proved crucial to Ukraine’s defense against armor and anti-aircraft systems during the initial days of the Russian assault. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, on October 26, 2022, said that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are “game changers” in the modern battlefield.

More extensive testing of the TB3 is still required, especially regarding how well it performs in naval warfare. However, it is believed that the TB3 is equipped with better capabilities than its predecessor and would be earmarked for exports in addition to its domestic deployment in the seas.

Bayraktar TB3 drone
Bayraktar TB3 drone

Better, Bigger, Heavier!

The Bayraktar TB3 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) is an armed aerial vehicle system that can take off and land on aircraft carriers with limited runways. The TB3 UCAV can conduct intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance missions in addition to assault operations using the smart weapons stationed beneath its wings.

The Bayraktar TB3 can conduct armed operations overseas due to custom capabilities, like foldable wings that enable use on aircraft carriers, unlike the Bayraktar TB2 drone that cannot launch from ships and aircraft carriers. The TB3 is capable of Fully Autonomous Take-Off and Landing.

Further, the Bayraktar TB3’s line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications capabilities allow it to be operated from very far away locations.

The TB3 UAV is larger than the TB2 UAV. 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.

Not just that, the new TB3 UAV has a payload capacity of 280 kilograms, which is significantly higher than the payload capacity of TB2 at 150 kilograms. The TB3’s maximum takeoff weight is 1,450 kilograms, almost double of TB-2’s 700 kilograms.

Baykar Bayraktar TB2 – Wikipedia

The TB3 towers over the TB2 in its cruising speed. While the TB2 can travel at a maximum speed of 70 to 120 knots, the TB3 can cruise at 125 to 160 knots. This is a massive improvement if the official specifications published by the manufacturer are anything to go by.

However, one area where TB2 takes the lead is endurance. The combat-hardened UAV has an endurance of 27 hours. In contrast, the TB3 is said to have an endurance of 24+ hours, according to the official website. However, the manufacturer has stopped short of specifying the number of hours that this naval drone could stay in the air.

Both drones are built to perform a completely different set of roles and operate in diverse combat situations.

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