Turkey arms itself with swarms of circulating ‘stinging’ kamikaze drones
ANKARA, (BM) – The STM company announced that before the end of 2020 it will start delivering Alpagu’s light circulating ammunition to the Turkish armed forces, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
It is a system fired from a tube launcher, which will also be used by the Bayraktar TB2 and Baykar Akinci unmanned tactical machines, although probably in a heavier variant with increased range. STM is already supplying the Turkish army with Kargu quadrocopter.
Alpagu unmanned aerial vehicles can be used to hit targets at a relatively short distance of 5 km from the operator, remaining in the air for up to 10 minutes and reaching a speed of 120 km / h. The operating ceiling reaches 400 meters, which is enough to recognize the terrain and detect and target the target. The performance is due to the low weight of the airframe itself, which is less than 2 kg. Another advantage of the system is the time needed to send the machine into the air, which is less than one minute.
The device is ejected from the cylindrical start-transport hopper, unfolds the wings and starts the electric motor. The flight can be controlled manually or automatically in accordance with the given parameters. Unfortunately, there is no information on the weight and type of the warhead, but given the low weight of the machine and the short flight time, it may weigh between 500 and 800 grams. Detonation can occur at the moment of the hit or at a certain height. The Alpagu system kits are to be delivered to the Turkish security forces and the military this year.
The Turkish Armed Forces are already using the STM four-rotor unmanned aerial vehicles. These are the Kargu reconnaissance and strike system, and the slightly older Togan reconnaissance system, which has been used for a year and is intended for “operations in urban areas, including anti-terrorist operations”. In June 2020, the STM company announced that it was preparing another delivery of 500 Kargu impact machines for the Turkish army.
Work is underway to optimize their mode of operation as a swarm of a maximum of 20 units controlled by a single operator. They are to cooperate with each other, ensuring the exchange of information and the sharing of goals. As reported in June by the Anadolu agency, within 12-18 months, the swarm operation system is to be ready to be deployed in the armed forces.
As for the further development of the Alpagu system, it will also be equipped with the possibility of operating as part of a swarm. In addition to the portable version, the production of which has already been launched, the STM company is also working on a heavier variant based on the same configuration, with a range from several to several dozen kilometers and a weight of about 10 kg.
Thanks to the use of algorithms enabling the cooperation of these machines, low thermal and acoustic signatures and a much larger mass of the head, the system is to be effective in fighting particularly important targets. The containers with the new Alpagu variant will be able to be carried by the Bayraktar TB2 tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, operationally tested in Libya, Syria and probably also against Armenia, but also by the new heavier MALE Akinci drone.
Turkey will arm itself with hundreds of Kargu ‘kamikaze’ drones
The Turkish company Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade will supply the Ministry of Defense of Turkey with hundreds of drones, among which there may be 356 units of Kargu kamikaze drones, as we reported this July.
Such a weapon could become a “killer” of Russian-made “Pantsi-S1” anti-aircraft missile-cannon systems in Syria and Libya.
According to the Drive magazine Kargu can also unite in a swarm of 20 drones for the purpose of a massive attack, which “could give the Turkish troops a new opportunity, potentially changing the game.”
The Drive recalls that the first generation Kargu was introduced back in 2017, and already in 2019 Kargu-2 were involved in operations on the Syrian-Turkish border.
The publication notes that a 15 kilogram drone is able to fly at a speed of up to 145 kilometers per hour, be in the air for up to 30 minutes and be in the visibility range for the operator at a distance of about 10 kilometers. According to The Drive, modern Kargu are equipped with three types of ammunition – high-explosive fragmentation, thermobaric and cumulative.
“In general, Turkey has become the locomotive of the development and production of unmanned aerial vehicles, using large types of which achieved great results in Syria and Libya only this year,” the publication concludes.
In January 2019, a military expert, Vladislav Shurygin, stated that the Pantsir-S1 was destroyed in Syria by the inexpensive and simple Israeli SkyStriker unmanned aerial vehicle. According to open sources, Elbit Systems SkyStriker ammunition is a small low-speed [up to 190 kilometers per hour] 35-kilogram unmanned aerial vehicle with a propelling propeller and an electric motor.
Read more: Top 5 best combat drones [UAVs] in the world
Shurygin is confident that “the use of this ammunition in the daytime presents a certain problem, since it is vulnerable even to small arms,” however, flying a flock of such “kamikaze” in the air defense position at night may “constitute a serious problem for the enemy.”
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