TB-3 Drones: After Bayraktar TB2, Turkey Ready To Unleash Its ‘Cutting Edge’ Naval UAVs ‘Very Soon’ — Reports

TEI, a leading Turkish engine manufacturer, has recently announced the delivery of PD170 turbo diesel engines for the Bayraktar TB-3 drone. The TB-3 is the latest version of Turkish manufacturer Baykar’s powerful TB-line of assault drones. 

The announcement was made by TEI General Manager Prof. Dr. Mahmut Faruk Akşit at the SAHA Expo 2022, which took place on October 25-28, 2022. 

The general manager said the engines have already been delivered to Baykar, which will incorporate them into new drones. The TEI PD170, according to the manufacturer, is the world’s finest turbo diesel aircraft engine.  

Akşit highlighted that the TAI Aksungur drone also uses the TEI PD170 engine. Developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aksungur can stay in the air for up to 49 hours and has a ceiling height of more than 30,000 ft. The engine produces an output of 126 to 164 kW. (170 to 220 horsepower).

Akşit further revealed that the TF6000 turbofan engine, which produces 6,000 pounds of thrust, might be used in the Bayraktar Kizilelma (Combat Unmanned Aircraft System) and the Turkish Type Assault Boat Project.  

Critical altitude/power comparison of PD170 with its equivalents (Image: TEI)

The Bayraktar TB-3, which Baykar Technology is currently developing, will make its first flight by the end of 2022. The TB-3 is a naval drone that can operate from small runways and ship decks, particularly aboard the amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu.

The TCG Anadolu (L-400), an amphibious assault ship modeled after Spain’s Juan Carlos I, is also expected to be launched by the end of this year. Turkey also intended to use the Anadolu as a drone carrier. 

After all, Ankara has effectively demonstrated its ability to design, develop, and deploy armed drones. It is said that the Anadolu’s deck will accommodate between 30 and 50 folding-winged Bayraktar TB-3 drones for landing and takeoff. 

Can TB-3 Mirror The Export Success Of TB-2?

Turkey isn’t simply satisfied with producing TB-3s for its new ship. Similar to how it did with the TB2, it aims to export these drones to other nations.

In March 2022, Haluk Bayraktar, Baykar CEO, stated that the upcoming TB-3 would be an excellent match for Japan’s Izumo-class platforms.

Bayraktar TB3 drone
File Image: Bayraktar TB3 drone

Experts predict that the TB-3 will initially benefit from TB-2’s purported operational success around the globe. Baykar gained considerable fame due to the Bayraktar TB-2 armed drones’ achievements in the battles in Syria, Libya, Karabakh, and Ukraine. 

During the initial phase of the Russian invasion, the platform was crucial in Ukraine’s defense against armor and anti-aircraft systems. But the TB-3 still needs to be tested over a more extended period, particularly in terms of how well it works for naval warfare. 

Meanwhile, on October 26, Britain’s defense secretary said that Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have proved to be “game changers” in the modern battlefield. Ben Wallace examined the Turkish drones on display at the SAHA Expo. 

Even though Baykar is not Turkey’s only manufacturer of military drones, it currently leads the nation’s effort to export defense technology abroad.

The Turkish company Baykar, manufacturer of TB-2 and TB-3, intends to build its Ukrainian manufacturing facility in the next two years. 

Baykar had promised to construct its second production unit in Ukraine as part of an agreement between Turkey and Ukraine just before Russia’s invasion on February 24. However, uncertainly looms over the pact, as EurAsian Times reported.

Rendering of TCG Anadolu operating Bayraktar KIZILELMA, the future unmanned fighter jet

The battle-proven TB-2 drone is reportedly being offered to as many as 24 countries, including NATO member Poland. Furthermore, the business has struck export agreements with five countries for its considerably larger Akinci drones. 

This year, the increasing orders are expected to generate roughly $1 billion in export revenues. The profits will be used to expand its production lines.

The company’s current TB-2 production capacity is 20 units per month. However, the company’s goal for 2023 is to produce at least 30 (units) every month. 

All in all, Turkey has already emerged as a powerful player in the drone export market. Recently, Turkish Aerospace Industries announced that it is working on the country’s first indigenous subsonic drone.

The subsonic drone could be named Goksungur or Simsek. The Turkish word “gok” means “sky,” while “Simsek” means “thunder.” 

The drone is anticipated to fly for the first time in February 2023 and reach a top speed of Mach 0.7. It is being developed to conduct intelligence gathering and fire support operations.