Russia sees a real threat from Turkey’s new Akinci drone
The analyzes were made by Defense Express. Their assessments, opinions and comments on the topic do not reflect the position of BulgarianMilitary.com
KYIV, ($1=26.90 Ukrainian Hryvnia ) – “Yesterday Karabakh, tomorrow Donbas. Ukraine helped Turkey assemble a new strike drone. Soon, the Turkish Bayraktar Akinci UAV will be used in Donbas.” These are separate quotes from the material of Gazeta.RU. Is the injection of passions premature? Although why not?
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The military conflict in 2020 in Nagorno-Karabakh drew attention to the Turkish UAV system.
After that, the Azerbaijani side took an active part in the combat operations of the Bayraktar TB2 UAV, developed by the private Turkish company Baykar Makina.
“A good PR company was conducted around the use of this UAV, which aroused great interest in this system in the world, significantly improving its export prospects,” Denis Fedutinov, editor-in-chief of the Unmanned Aviation magazine, told Gazeta.Ru.
According to the expert, the developers from Baykar did not remain “resting on their laurels”, but continued to work on the formation of the UAV line. Another product in it was a significantly heavier Bayraktar Akinci device. Translated from Turkish Akintsi – flag bearer of light cavalry.
Bayraktar Akinci can fly at an altitude of 12,200 meters, the wingspan of the aircraft is 20 meters, maximum takeoff weight – 4500 kg. Flight duration – up to 24 hours. Maximum speed – 360 km / h, cruise – 240 km / h. The maximum combat load of Akıncı can reach 1350 kg – up to 450 kg on the inner suspension and up to 900 kg on the components of the outer suspension.
In terms of flight characteristics and dimensions, the Banner Bearer significantly outperforms its predecessor, the Bayraktar TB2. The size of the Bayraktar Akinci can be compared to the American reconnaissance and strike UAV MQ-9 Reaper, but it is superior to the American aircraft in terms of maximum takeoff weight.
In Russia, admit that the most interesting thing in Bayraktar Akinci – engines. The device is equipped with two AI-450T. This is a two-rotor engine with a turbocharger, developed by the Zaporozhye Machine-Building Bureau “Progress” in 1988.
The AI-450 engine is designed for light helicopters and aircraft in the class with a takeoff weight of 1500-4000 kg and can be used as part of twin-engine and single-engine aircraft power plants, as well as an auxiliary power plant. It was originally planned to install Turkish turbodiesel engines PD-222, developed by Tusas Engine Industries [TEI] Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayi AŞ [TUSAŞ/TAI]. But Ukrainian engines proved to be more reliable.
“The contract for the supply of 20 engines for $ 640-660 thousand per pair was signed as part of an offset package to the agreement for the purchase of a batch of drones Bayraktar TB2 in Ukraine. The choice of power plant supplier was dictated, among other things, by political motives,” said Russian expert Denis Fedutinov. It is also noted that the Ukrainian side has contributed to the Bayraktar Akinchi UAV project not only by supplying engines but also and composite materials.
In general, according to the expert, in the development of their product line in the direction of increasing the dimensions of UAVs, Turkish developers have followed the traditional path. Similarly, US and Israeli companies have previously acted with their Reaper and Eitan drones, designed to develop the Predator and Heron systems, respectively. This was done with the expectation of increasing the mass of the payload, mainly for the armament of UAVs – to increase the number and range of aircraft weapons.
“Given the role of Kyiv in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, there is every reason to believe that in the future Bayraktar Akinci will be adopted for equipping the Armed Forces of Ukraine. So the question of their appearance in the skies of Donbas – is it’s only a matter of time,” they say in Russia. At the time, they said such devices were vulnerable to modern air defenses.
There is nothing new in these, apart from the clearly expressed dissatisfaction with the prospects of retrofitting Ukraine’s armed forces with technological models of unmanned vehicles that worry the aggressor.
As for air defense threats to the new strike UAV, the following detail is worth mentioning: developer Baykar Defense is testing the use of the latest MAM-T guided bomb, developed by Roketsan from Akinci. The range of the MAM-T exceeds 30 kilometers and this makes Russian short- and medium-range air defense systems, including the same Pantsir-C complex, powerless against Akinci.
And the use of a cruise missile with a range of 250 km allows the calculation of UAVs to form optimal scenarios for the destruction of enemy targets with minimal risks to the aircraft. Good personnel skills and flexible tactics of application significantly eliminate the threat of UAVs being shot down by air defense means.
It is noteworthy that not so long ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan not to supply drones to Ukraine. That did not affect the position of Turkey and Ukraine received another batch of Bayraktar TB2 for its Navy.
Next in line is likely to come to Bayraktar Akinci, which was adopted by the Turkish army only last week. The celebrations marked the contribution of Ukrainian enterprises – both public and private – as reliable and long-term partners in creating a new model of armaments. After all, the new Akinci drones overcome record heights and distances on aircraft engines, which are designed, manufactured, and supplied from Ukraine.
According to Baykar Defense CTO Selcuk Bayraktar, the new Akinci drones will significantly increase the Turkish military’s ability to reliably protect airspace.
In turn, in the future, it is extremely important for the Ukrainian side in cooperation with Bayrkar Defense to acquire the necessary competencies and create conditions for joint and then independent production of unmanned systems of operational and strategic level, which will significantly increase the potential of the Ukrainian army during hostilities.
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