Drones

Will Bayraktar drones help Ukraine fight Russia as they aided Azerbaijan against Armenia?

Drones are changing the face of modern warfare. A technology of the 21st century that was first used by the United States after the 9/11 bombings. In November 2020, during the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, drones proved to be tremendously effective against armour and artillery.

Now, the landscape is Ukraine. The enemy: Russia. A far greater challenge lies for the drones, especially the Turkish Bayraktar TB-2, at the helm of the Ukraine war. Let us see how it has helped Ukraine take on the mighty Russians.

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A Bayraktar TB2 drone at TEKNOFEST 2021, the aviation, space and technology festival at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Bayraktar TB2 drones are supplied by Turkey. Though only about one-eighth the weight of a US MQ-9 Reaper and cruising at just 80 mph, the TB2 carries four MAM (Turkish for Smart Micro Munition) laser-guided missiles and proved highly effective in combat. The TB2 has a flight time of 24 hours and a communication range of almost 185 miles and comes armed with smart munitions. It has an altitude ceiling of roughly 25,000 feet. Additionally, some of these drones create a disturbing sound when approaching their targets, which can be psychologically unsettling.

Bayraktar TB2 features a monocoque design and integrates an inverse V-tail structure. The fuselage is made of carbon fibre, Kevlar and hybrid composites, whereas the joint segments constitute precision computer numerical control (CNC) machined aluminium parts.

Each Bayraktar TB2 system consists of six aerial vehicles, two ground control stations, three ground data terminals, two remote video terminals and ground-support equipment.

The UAV is equipped with a triple-redundant avionics system. It also features a Pitot static sensor, laser altimeter and alpha-beta sensor modules, as well as speed, temperature and fuel level sensors.

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Bayraktar TB2 UAV can carry a maximum payload of more than 55kg. The standard payload configuration includes an electro-optical camera module, an infrared camera module, a laser designator, a laser rangefinder and a laser pointer.

BAYRAKTAR IN UKRAINE

The chief of Ukraine’s air force, Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, wrote a Facebook post in which he described the Bayraktar TB2 drones as “life-giving”.

Ukraine received its first shipment of the Bayraktar drones in 2019. While the Bayraktar TB2 drones were heavily effective for Azerbaijan against Armenia in November 2020, experts were still not convinced as to how effective these drones would be against a military superpower with a state-of-the-art defence system. These questions have now been answered well enough.

A precursor to this was the success of the TB2 drones against Russian-made weapons in Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya, especially the Pantsir air defence system.

Key aspects like low visibility and detectability, thanks to the low radar cross-section values of the TB2 and the ability to have the datalink complexes stay below the electromagnetic jamming envelopes of principal Russian electronic warfare systems like Krasukha-4, have made the TB2 drones slick and agile. The Krasukha-4 can jam onboard systems of manned aircraft but has not been very effective against the Bayraktar’s.

It is interesting to note that earlier this year, Turkey and Ukraine had an agreement in place to co-produce Bakraktar TB2 drones at a production site in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Olesii Reznikov told reporters in Kyiv that the co-production compound would also include a training centre where Ukrainian pilots would be trained. This had caused a lot of resentment and anger amongst the Russian defence establishment back then.

BAYRAKTAR’S SUCCESS AGAINST ARMENIA IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH & ELSEWHERE

Military experts had claimed that the drones had effectively won the war for the Azerbaijan military almost single-handedly, as it proved to be the major difference between the two sides. While Armenia had legacy Russian weapons, Azerbaijan heavily invested in Israeli and Turkish drones, including the high-profile Bayraktar TB2 drone.

India Today had extensively covered this in 2020. The Turkish drones outpowered the Armenian forces completely with little time to regroup.

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A Bayraktar TB2 drone at TEKNOFEST 2021, the aviation, space and technology festival at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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The Bayraktar drones have had a lot of success lately. When the UAE deployed Chinese-built Wing Loong drones last year to support the Libyan National Army faction inside Libya, resulting in deadly strikes using laser-guided Blue Arrow missiles, Turkey intervened on behalf of the opposing side by deploying a fleet of domestically built Bayraktar TB2 drones, the same used by Azerbaijan and now Ukraine.

This eventually overwhelmed and destroyed most of the Libyan National Army’s Russian-built air defence systems, forcing the army to end its siege and withdraw.

Turkish drones also pounced down on Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria’s Idlib province, destroying hundreds of armoured vehicles, thereby bringing Assad to his knees.

Open-source analysis of videos captured in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh indicates that the drones have caused a devastating toll, incapacitating around 128 tanks, 26 surface-to-air missile systems, including a Tor system, around 70 multiple rocket launchers, five S-300s, 14 radars or jammers and one SU-25 warplane.

The same analysis shows that Azerbaijan has lost 22 tanks, 41 armoured vehicles, one helicopter, 28 drones, and 24 vehicles.

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(The writer is a Singapore-based Open-Source Intelligence analyst)

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Bayraktar TB2 drones are supplied by Turkey. Though only about one-eighth the weight of a US MQ-9 Reaper and cruising at just 80 mph, the TB2 carries four MAM (Turkish for Smart Micro Munition) laser-guided missiles and proved highly effective in combat. The TB2 has a flight time of 24 hours and a communication range of almost 185 miles and comes armed with smart munitions. It has an altitude ceiling of roughly 25,000 feet. Additionally, some of these drones create a disturbing sound when approaching their targets, which can be psychologically unsettling.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/will-bayraktar-drones-help-ukraine-fight-russia-as-they-aided-azerbaijan-against-armenia/ar-AAUs1JE

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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