Only EU Country To Operate TB2 Drones, Baykar Delivers Final Batch Of Turkish UAVs In Russia’s Backyard

Poland has received the final batch of Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Turkey, a deal that was signed in May 2021. It is the only NATO nation outside Turkey and the only EU country to operate the UAVs.

The Polish Armaments Agency (AA) announced on May 16 that the 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Base in Mirosławiec received the fourth batch of these unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), each consisting of six UAVs. The shipment also includes three ground control stations (GCSs), EO/IR (Electro-Optical/Infra-Red) sensors, armament, and spares.

The Polish Armaments Agency said in a statement, “The Secretary of State in the Ministry of National Defense, Paweł Bejda, together with representatives of the Polish Armed Forces, took part in the ceremony of completing the delivery of the last, fourth set of the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned reconnaissance and strike system.”

The AA reported that the TB2’s armaments package consisted of training munitions from Roketsan in addition to laser-guided MAM-L thermobaric and MAM-C high-explosive Smart Micro Munitions (MAM is Mini Akıllı Mühimmat, meaning “smart micro munition” and is a family of laser-guided bombs).

The Polish Ministry of National Defense (MND) stated that the Polish industry would gain expertise in engine overhaul and repair and maintenance of the GCSs and EO/IR sensors as part of the contract, which includes some technology transfer.

The milestone comes three years after the Armament Inspectorate and Baykar Makina Sanayi ve Ticaret announced the agreement for Warsaw to purchase Turkish drones. In May 2021, Poland purchased 24 TB2 UAVs manufactured in Turkey as part of an extensive modernization of the military undertaken by the Polish Ministry of National Defense.

The Turkish manufacturer began deliveries in late 2022. As per reports, the Polish operators started training on the system last year. With Poland meticulously working to strengthen its military force and emerging as the next big military powerhouse in the European continent, the acquisition of TB2 drones is a significant development.

Although Poland’s purchase of the TB2 drones preceded the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the protracted war has only established the relevance and combat utility of UAVs in modern warfare. Ukraine has used these drones against Russia, and Poland has already deployed them to patrol the border with Belarus.

When Ukraine’s forces introduced these drones into the battlefield, they emerged as the ‘ideal weapon’ that could change the course of the war in Ukraine after they managed to score some stunning combat victories. Numerous claims and videos have shown Ukraine employing these drones to attack Russian patrol boats, armor, and tanks.

Moreover, following the drone’s combat success, the Turkish defense company Baykar has begun constructing a factory near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. There, it plans to employ about 500 people and produce drone models TB2 or TB3.

“Our factory is being built…We need about 12 months to finish construction, and then we will move on to internal machinery, equipment, and organizational structure,” said Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar on the sidelines of the World Defense Show in Riyadh in February this year.

The TB2 drones are expected to bolster the surveillance of Polish airspace, particularly in the wake of missiles flying close to the Polish border with Ukraine. The Polish Air Force currently operates the MQ-A drones leased from the US and wants to buy the MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones. If that purchase goes through, the Polish military will operate US and Turkish drones to secure its airspace.

The delivery of the drones is a huge accomplishment for the Turkish manufacturer Bayraktar. The company’s popularity has surged in the last couple of years, largely due to the stunning combat performance of the TB2 drones in multiple war zones worldwide.

Turkey’s TB2 Drones

Earlier, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that there was a huge international demand for the TB2 drones.

Despite unveiling the newer, bigger, and better TB3 drone earlier this year, TB2 continues to steal the limelight and attract customers. According to Baykar, about 30 countries have signed agreements to purchase the TB2 UAV.

Due to its incredible export success, the Bayraktar TB2 has emerged as a symbol of the country’s defense sector.

TB2 Drone- File Image

The TB2 is a tactical unmanned aerial vehicle capable of performing missions related to armed attack and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The UAV features an onboard avionic suite with a triple redundant avionic system, which enables fully autonomous taxiing, takeoff, landing, and cruising.

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Bayraktar TB2 also offers a satellite communication option with a 300-kilometer communication range. It has a payload capacity of 150 kilograms and can carry up to four laser-guided smart weapons. The Bayraktar TB2 has been armed with munitions like MAM-L, MAM-C, BOZOK (smaller in comparison to the MAM-L and used by Turkey’s drones) ammunition, and Kemankes micro smart cruise missiles.

The combat success and incredible performance displayed by the TB2 UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) in conflict zones like Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Ethiopia, and Ukraine have led to its skyrocketing popularity. The TB2’s performance has also paved the way for the export of the latest Turkish UAVs, including the TB3 and the Akinci drone.

The Bayraktar TB2 holds the records in Turkish aviation history for endurance (27 hours 3 minutes) and altitude (25.030 feet). It is also the first-ever UAV in its category to be exported abroad.