The Ukrainian Navy has taken delivery of the first batch of Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from Turkish defense company Baykar.
The drones were delivered a little over six months after they were ordered in late 2020. The bilateral cooperation agreement between Ukraine and Turkey also included the purchase of four MILGEM corvettes, which Turkey has also exported to Pakistan.
While the delivery of the Bayraktar TB2 UAVs is a first for the Ukrainian Navy, it is not the first time the armed forces of Ukraine will be operating the type. The Ukrainian Army already operationally deployed the type in April this year, after ordered first units in 2019.
Bayraktar TB2 UAV systems will significantly increase the capabilities of the Ukrainian Navy in protecting the southern borders of our country, the service said.
The delivered drones are an upgraded version, with a range of 300 kilometers, instead of the 150 kilometers range found on previous models, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Alexander Myronyuk noted. He also added that Ukrainian Navy operators had been trained in Turkey ahead of the delivery of the systems.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV (MALE UAV) capable of conducting surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks and combat missions using guided missiles carried on four pylons under the wings.
The system’s avionics enable fully autonomous taxiing, take-off, flight and landing. The drone is 6.5 meters long and has a span of 12 meters. It achieves a flight duration of up to 27 hours with a maximum take-off weight of 650 kilograms.
Earlier this year, Turkey scored another export success with the UAV, signing an official agreement with Poland for the purchase of 24 Bayraktar drones. The Polish Armed Forces are expected to receive first systems by the end of 2022, while all 24 systems are to be delivered by the end of 2024.