Unmanned combat aerial vehicle
Bayraktar Akinci is a long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed by Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar Makina.
Designed to operate with different ammunition configurations, Bayraktar Akinci will allow the company to upgrade its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.
The drone is the predecessor of Bayraktar TB2 Tactical UAV and will serve as a leading variant in its class.
The hi-tech unmanned aircraft is designed to perform various operations supporting fighter jets. It will be equipped with dual satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, electronic support systems, collision avoidance radar and synthetic aperture radar.
Baykar Makina unveiled the drone at the TEKNOFEST Istanbul Aviation, Space and Technology Festival in September 2019. First engine test of the vehicle was performed in September 2019, while the maiden flight was completed in December 2019.
The unmanned aerial vehicle will serve the Turkish security forces in both air-to-ground and air-to-air attack missions. Akinci UCAV’s first prototype PT-1 made its second flight in January 2020 and landed at the Corlu Airport Base Command in Tekirdag province for further testing in May 2020. PT-2, the second prototype, completed its testing in August 2020, followed by a developed system identification test in March 2021.
The first flight of the Bayraktar Akinci’s third prototype was successfully completed in March 2021. The company is expected to soon commence the mass production of the UCAV.
The combat drone has a length of 12.2m, height of 4.1m, wingspan of 20m, and a maximum take-off weight of 5,500kg. It has the capability to take-off and land on a runway.
The dual artificial intelligence avionics system integrated into the platform helps in improving signal processing, sensor fusion and situational awareness in real time. Advanced features of the Turkish unmanned platform include cross redundant ground control station architecture, fully automatic and semi-automatic flight modes, as well as unique flight control and avionics architecture.
Domestically developed satellites can be used to control the combat drone. Sensors and cameras incorporated in the UCAV can collect and store data.
The drone has the capacity to carry a maximum payload of 1,350kg including simultaneous electro-optic/infrared/laser designation (EO/IR/LD), multi-mode active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and signals intelligence (SIGINT) system. It will be fitted with different weapon payloads such as laser guided smart munitions, missiles, and long-range stand-off weapons.
Other payloads that can be carried by the UCAV include Cirit missile, mini smart munition Bozok, mini smart munition MAM-L, mini smart munition MAM – C, L-UMTAS missile, MK-81, MK-82, MK-83 guided bombs (JDAM). The UCAV can also be armed with Gokdogan and Bozdogan air-to-air missiles, wing assisted guided bomb MK-82, and stand-off missile SOM-A.
The ground control station utilises triple bands to implement both line of sight (LOS) control and video transmission, while beyond line of sight (BLOS) control and video transmission of the drone is enabled through satellite communication (SATCOM).
The drone supports BLOS operations through global satellite networks and attendant ground data terminals.
The ground control station features various components including NATO specification shelter systems, tactical radio systems, intercom systems, multi-function pilot console, radar and payload operator consoles.
Akinci is powered by two turboprop engines which can generate a power output of 450hp. An option to install 750hp engines or locally made 240hp engines is also available.
The unmanned vehicle will be able to cruise at a maximum speed of between 130k and 195k with an operational range of 5,000km and an endurance of up to 24 hours.
Operational altitude and maximum altitude of the UCAV will be 30,000ft and 40,000ft, respectively.
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