Turkey sent 50 Bayraktars to Ukraine, Russia downed twice as many?

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Not for the first time, a statement by a senior Russian military officer does not contrast with official statistics. For example, if you recall, sometime in the summer and fall of 2022, Russia claimed to have destroyed dozens of US-supplied HIMARS systems in Ukraine. The problem was that Ukraine did not have a third of the “destroyed” HIMARS at that time.

Downed Bayraktar TB2 of Snake Island battle was found in Romania
Photo: Facebook

Something similar is happening today with the statements of the Commander of the Russian Air Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Andrey Demin. He claimed that over 100 Turkish-supplied Bayraktar TB2, drones were shot down over Ukraine. The fact is that these drones abruptly disappeared from the sight of observers in the fall of last year. The fact is that their performance is not the same as when they flew over Libya and Syria and destroyed Russian military equipment.

It also has another fact – according to official data, Turkey has not delivered more than 50-60 drones of this type. Of course, 50 drones are said to have been delivered, but according to some sources, there may have been a dozen more delivered before the war. However, there is no information about them whether they are operationally ready.

There were also donations in the past year in Europe. Civil initiatives were buying Turkish drones. But how many have been bought by citizens so far? Five, ten? General Demin’s number still does not appear. Over 100 drones mean 101, 107, or 111 for example. There were of course claims in some Russian media that Ukraine had received dozens of Bayrakt TB2 drones illegally supplied by Turkey. Illegally understand as unreported, unofficially declared, etc. However, Turkey and the manufacturer Baykar deny such claims.

Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles with increased control range
Photo credit: Defence Blog

The Russian general’s statement was made on April 9 – the day of the Russian anti-aircraft forces. Of course, on such days everyone brags about their war trophies. Not bad, but somehow these praises are already fading in the background of unconfirmed data. Of course, at the moment there is no way to officially confirm how many Bayraktar TB2 drones have been delivered to Ukraine over the past three years and how many have been destroyed.

At the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian defense managed to successfully use Bayraktar TB2 several times. There are reports of successful attacks over Snake Island, and there is even talk of participation in the sinking of the Russian naval flagship Moscow. Then Bayrakt TB2 became a symbol that could be key to Ukrainian successes. But this fame was short-lived. The Russians found a way to counter and dealt with the Turkish Bayraktars.

The adaptation of Russian air defense against Turkish drones in Ukraine is a fact. One of the latest news in the networks was an attempt by a Russian fighter jet to shoot down a Turkish TB2 drone over the Black Sea. However, it is still a mystery why the drone was not shot down by a missile when Russia and Turkey claimed it was Ukrainian.

Su-27 tried to take down a Bayraktar TB2 with a 'jet wind' effect
Video screenshot

Of course, on the day of the celebration of the Russian air defense, there was no way to miss the mention of the American reconnaissance drone MQ-9 Reaper. The incident caused considerable publicity, prompted statements from the Pentagon, and raised spirits among the international community.

Experts are looking for an answer to the question of how Moscow found an effective way to deal with Bayraktar TB2. According to some, this is a complex achievement. I.e. improved air defense in the area of military operations, which, however, also includes improved electronic warfare capabilities. I.e. Russian jamming, known as “burning out electrical systems,” of drones has improved. This is precisely the opinion expressed by Samuel Bennett, a military expert on electronic warfare.

Russia will reward Su-27 pilots who 'pissed' the MQ-9 drone
Video screenshot

He says there is a joint operational action of at least two systems against Ukrainian drones. First, the powerful radars of the air defense systems are used. They identify the target and relay it to electronic warfare systems. Of course, the use of machine guns, or the TOR missile system, also comes into play.

There are claims that Moscow has deployed a powerful radar in the war zone. There is talk of the Niobium radar. This is a radar station, self-contained. This station has a radius range of 500 km. It scans the sky and tracks hundreds of targets simultaneously.

Production in Ukraine

In 2022, Ukraine’s desire to build a production base for Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones was repeatedly mentioned. However, this desire was supported by Turkey as well. Against the background of “these Russian successes”, however, it remains questionable whether the plans will be realized. They may be postponed until after the war when construction will enjoy clear skies.

However, there is another theory about the absence of Bayraktr TB2 in recent months. Diplomacy between Russia and Turkey may be the reason why no more drones are flying. I.e. Turkey does not supply because it continues to enjoy huge energy supplies [gas, oil, petroleum] from the Russian Federation.


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