Despite its success, the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 is as vulnerable as a WWII aircraft
This post was published in Pentapostagma. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
YEREVAN, (BM) – The widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles against enemy air defenses is the main method used by Turkish officers in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. The famous Armenian military analyst H. Arzomanyan said in an interview that 80% of the losses of the Artsakh army come exclusively from the actions of the Turkish UAVs.
“The widespread use of UAVs for supremacy in the air and the complete suppression of enemy air defense systems has become the most distinctive style of combat of the Turkish military in Idlib, Libya and now Nagorno,” he said in a remarkable article. In April this year, hundreds of Syrian government troops, dozens of tanks, armored vehicles and artillery were destroyed in a Bayraktar TB2 “swarm” attack in Syria.
On March 4, 2020, the Izvestia newspaper, citing Russian military sources, reported that five Anka UAVs and seven Bayraktar TV2 UAVs had been shot down by the Syrian Beech and Panzer air defense systems. In 2019, Bayraktar TB2 was used in Libya against Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). In December 2019, the LNA had announced that it had shot down two Turkish Bayraktar TB2s at Ain Zarah near Tripoli. On March 31, 2020, the LNA shot down another Bayraktar TB2 near Tripoli. On May 2, 2020, Al-Marsad reported that a Turkish Bayraktar TV2 UAV crashed into a residential building in Tripoli. On May 9, 2020, the LNA military intelligence department reported that the LNA air defense system struck a Turkish TB2 UAV Bayraktar in the al-Kabail area of Ain Zar. On 12 May 2020, members of the 82nd Infantry Battalion of the LNA reported that near the Al-Shvareif area, the LNA air defense had shot down a Turkish UAV.
In May 2020, Anadolu announced that the government of the Libyan National Accord [GNA-ed.] had destroyed nine Russian Pantsir missile systems during operations against Haftar’s illegal armed groups. Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 UAV reportedly destroyed dozens of 9K33 Osa and 9K35 Strela-10 air defense systems in Nagorno-Karabakh.
For its part, the Armenian side announced the crash of the Bayraktar TB2 UAV. “This information cannot be considered completely reliable today, but in any case we have ‘swarms’ of Bayraktar TB2 UAVs attacking Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, achieving serious operational success,” he said.
The Turkish UAV Bayraktar TB2, created by Boykor Makina, is a modification of the Bayraktar Block and belongs to the category of UAVs at medium altitudes with a long flight duration. Bayraktar TB2 has advanced software and control systems and broke the world record for unmanned aerial vehicles in its class after conducting test flights in June and August 2014 at an altitude of 8 km. The flight duration was 24 hours and 34 minutes.
Although the Bayraktar TB2 UAV is manufactured by a Turkish company, this would mean nothing without the Hornet missile system, which was developed and delivered to the Turks by the British company EDO MBM Technology. Now this company belongs to the American giant L3 Harris, the sixth largest defense giant in the world. L3 Harris’ smart poles “of external bombs and missiles are used in American fighter aircraft F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor, F / A-18E / F Super Hornet, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon , The Drums Poseidon P-8A and MQ-9 Reaper.
Now this masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon designers is helping Turkey and Azerbaijan fight successfully in Nagorno-Karabakh. Today, Turkey with a fleet of 86 Bayraktar TB2 is one of the leading military forces with such unmanned aerial vehicles, along with the United States, Britain and Israel. “The mass use of unmanned aerial vehicles against the enemy’s armed forces with approximately the same force has changed the entire military methodology so far,” Arzomanyan said.
How will the course of hostilities change with the advent and successful experience of using a new type of weapon? How can you deal with a swarm of aggressive drones?
Veterans of the battles in Donbass are already planning to react strongly to a possible similar situation. Bayraktar could be easy prey especially for A-10 aircraft or “Super Tucano” aircraft. “The vulnerability of the Bayraktars is comparable to the vulnerability of aircraft at the beginning of World War II, so it is not difficult to shoot them down,” Russian expert A. Goodwin said in an interview.
However, the Turks cover their UAV raids with Turkish AWACS and F-16 aircraft as they do in Nagorno. There is no doubt that the digital space of the Karabakh Theater of Business is “shining” by the NATO satellite team, which in real time transmits current information about the enemy to the Turkish army, leading the Azerbaijani air force.
In other words, a balanced enemy fleet is working against Armenia, which can hardly deal with it successfully. Sending similar aircraft armed with small arms or missiles such as the Turkish Bayraktar will not be successful. “They will be shot down by fighters that cover the whole operation. A balanced fleet is required,” said the Armenian expert.
Russia has all the air force components except the Bayraktar medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles. Their absence negatively affected the entire course of hostilities in Idlib and Libya. Recently, Ukrainian President Volotyr Zelensky agreed with the Turks to buy Turkish aerial vehicles of this type, without hiding that he intends to use them against the Russians in Donetsk, in a possible attack in Crimea.
“The Russian military-industrial complex must adequately respond to all these external threats. We have the opportunity to prepare not for the last war, but for the war of the future, which has already broken out in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said. Arzomanian in an open message to all countries that hate the Turks, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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