Turkish defence company Baykar has unveiled its latest unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), the Bayraktar TB3, which is expected to enter service in 2024. The TB3 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UCAV that can carry a variety of weapons and sensors for strike and reconnaissance missions.
The TB3 is based on the Bayraktar TB2, a successful UCAV that has been used by Turkey and several other countries in various conflicts. The TB3 has a larger wingspan of 24 meters, compared to the TB2’s 12 meters, and a higher maximum takeoff weight of 4.5 tons, compared to the TB2’s 650 kilograms. The TB3 can fly for up to 30 hours at a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet, and can reach a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour.
The TB3 can carry up to 1.5 tons of payload, including guided bombs, missiles, rockets, and electronic warfare systems. The TB3 can also carry a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for high-resolution imaging and ground-moving target indication (GMTI), as well as an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret for day/night vision and laser designation. The TB3 can operate autonomously or in coordination with other UCAVs or manned aircraft, using a secure datalink and satellite communication.
The TB3 is designed to operate from land or sea platforms, such as airfields or aircraft carriers. The TB3 can take off and land using a catapult and an arresting hook system, similar to naval jets. The TB3 can also be refueled in flight by tanker aircraft, extending its range and endurance.
The TB3 is expected to enhance Turkey’s air power and deterrence capabilities, as well as its export potential. Turkey has already signed agreements with Ukraine and Qatar to sell them the TB2 UCAV, and is in talks with several other countries for possible deals. The TB3 is likely to attract more customers who are looking for a cost-effective and versatile UCAV that can perform various missions in different environments.