ANKARA ($1=18.63 Turkish Liras) — Quickly and abruptly, reports across social networks and online media about the successes of Ukraine’s Bayraktar TB2 disappeared. Not only these reports – but reports of downed Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 drones also disappeared. Practically, the Turkish drone no longer flies in Ukraine. There are several reasons.
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One of the possible reasons is running out of stock. According to Russian sources, Russian armed forces have shot down at least 130 Ukrainian drones since the start of the war. The figure seriously differs from the highly publicized by the Turkish side that Ukraine purchased 50 Bayraktar TB2 units. There have been reports that Turkey has unofficially delivered at least 50 more. We have also witnessed citizen initiatives in Europe to raise funds to purchase the Turkish drone. But in reality between 3 and 5 were bought in total.
Another possible reason is the gas deal between Russia and Turkey. BulgarianMilitary.com has already announced months ago that Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin has put conditions on Turkish President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan to not deliver Turkish drones to Ukraine to keep the gas deal active. Some experts say that Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian grain export deal is also why Turkish drones are no longer being supplied to Ukraine, which was part of Moscow’s terms.
Ukraine ruined Bayraktar’s image
Russian media have also raised the alarm about the lack of information regarding Bayraktar TB2’s combat operations in Ukraine since mid-August. Completely illogical for Russian propaganda, but Russian media say that the reason for the lack of Turkish drones is not Russian air defense systems, but most likely political maneuvers between Russia and Turkey.
However, Turkish drones are not performing in the way they did in Libya, Syria, and especially during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. The various military actions in Ukraine and the undeniable fact that many Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones were shot down by the Russian armed forces damaged the image of the Bayraktar TB2.
One of the last memorable engagements of Turkish drones was the attacks on Snake Island that began in the first weeks of May and continued until the end of June. The Russian media call this period “Bayraktar rain” because dozens of drones were shot down precisely in this summer period.
Most likely, the Ukrainian armed forces’ stocks of Turkish drones have run out. But let’s not forget a joke that happened at the end of October, and which may have been taken seriously by the Russian drone maker.
Immediately after the meeting between Mr. Erdoğan and Mr. Putin in Astana, Russian cyber pranksters Vovan and Lexus went viral on social media. The reason: they posed as American officials and managed to enroll a Ukrainian employee, Mr. Sergei Pashinsky. The video recorded Pashinski’s criticism of the Bayraktar TB2 drones.
“I was against it because they are extremely vulnerable to air defense systems. They were all shot down within a week. [The drone] is not a self-sufficient weapon” [it cannot operate by itself] as “it is taken down in a flash by air defense systems defense and no combat effectiveness at all,” said Mr. Pashinsky. He is actually the head of the Association of Defense Enterprises of Ukraine.
However, the joke of the Russian pranksters went where it clearly shouldn’t have. The video of Mr. Pashinsky’s answers was seen by Mr. Haluk Bayraktar. And he immediately posted a response on his Twitter account, which was later deleted, but BulgarianMilitary.com has a screenshot.
“All I can offer Mr. Pashinsky is an answer, ‘Go fight on your own then.'” Mr. Haluk Bayraktar wrote. Popular Russian defense publications reported that talks about the Baykar plant had “faded” from the Ukrainian press in September.
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