Türkiye’s Bayraktar TB3 Makes History with First Ski-Jump Test

Estimated read time 3 min read

Türkiye’s new combat drone, the Bayraktar TB3, successfully completed its first ski-jump test, marking a crucial milestone in its development.

First of Its Kind

The Bayraktar TB3, designed by drone manufacturer Baykar, achieved a reportedly significant milestone by performing its first ski-jump takeoff from a land-based runway. This test is a critical step before it starts flight tests from Türkiye’s aircraft carrier, the TCG Anadolu, the world’s first drone carrier.

Successful Takeoff

The TB3, a short-runway version of the Bayraktar TB2, is unique with its foldable wings and ability to operate from short-runway vessels like the TCG Anadolu. A video shared by Baykar showed the TB3 taking off from a 12-degree inclined ramp, replicating the conditions of the aircraft carrier’s deck. The drone successfully completed four takeoffs from this ramp, paving the way for future operations from the TCG Anadolu.

Baykar’s Milestones

Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s chair and technology leader, expressed his excitement on social media, stating, “Step by step to TCG Anadolu. And from there to the boundless blue seas.” The TB3 will continue its testing from a specialized ramp at the Baykar Flight Training and Test Center in Keşan, Edirne.

The TB3 made its maiden flight in October last year and has since completed various performance and system identification tests. It has logged over 395 hours of flight time and achieved significant feats, including staying airborne for 32 hours and covering 3,542 miles in a single flight.

Advanced Capabilities

The TB3 is expected to outperform its predecessor, the TB2, in endurance, altitude, and weapon-carrying capacity. The TB2 has already proven its worth in conflicts in Azerbaijan, Libya, and Ukraine, playing a crucial role against Russian forces.

Selçuk Bayraktar announced plans to begin testing the TB3 from the TCG Anadolu later this year. The aircraft carrier’s air wing will also include Baykar’s unmanned fighter jet, Kızılelma, which completed its maiden flight in December 2022. Kızılelma promises enhanced speed and carrying capacity, capable of air-to-air engagements in addition to conventional missions.

Strategic Impact

The Bayraktar TB3 boasts several key innovations, including beyond-line-of-sight communication, enabling control from long distances. It will carry out reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence, and attack missions with its smart munitions, significantly boosting Türkiye’s deterrent power.

Baykar has become a leading defense exporter for Türkiye, with 83% of its revenue coming from exports since 2003. Last year, it was the top defense exporter, contributing $1.8 billion to the sector’s $5.5 billion sales. The company has signed export deals with 34 Countries, solidifying its global presence.

DroneXL’s Take

The Bayraktar TB3’s successful ski-jump test is a groundbreaking achievement, showcasing Türkiye’s advancements in Drone Technology. With its ability to operate from short-runway vessels and its advanced capabilities, the TB3 is set to revolutionize modern warfare. This milestone not only enhances Türkiye’s military capabilities but also solidifies Baykar’s position as a global leader in drone innovation.

Photo courtesy of Daily Sabah.

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