Warplanes: Turkey Finds A Way


June 26, 2016: In early 2016 Turkey successfully tested a locally designed and made laser guided missile (MAM-L) for use by its existing UAVs. The laser guided MAM-L is a 22.5 kg (50 pound) weapon with a 10 kg (22 pound) warhead has a range of eight kilometers. Bayraktar, a Turkish designed and built UAV, carried the MAM-L for the test and is now using it in combat.

Bayraktar is a 650 kg (1,433 pound) aircraft with a 55 kg (121 pound) payload and an endurance of 24 hours. First flight was in 2009 and it enters service in 2016. This is two years later than planned but as every developer of large UAVs knows, there are always unexpected glitches that have to be encountered and fixed along the way.

There is also a Bayraktar Mini UAV which is a 4.6 kg (9.9 pound) aircraft that is battery powered and hand launched. Endurance is 60 minutes and the Bayraktar can operate up to 15 kilometers from the operator. The Turkish Army has been using the Bayraktar Mini since 2007.

Turkey developed its first large UAV, the Anka, with the help of Pakistan. Looking very similar to the American Predator, the Anka is a 1.6 ton aircraft propelled by a rear facing propeller. Payload is 200 kg (440 pounds) and endurance is 24 hours, and Anka can operate up to 200 kilometers from its controller. Max altitude is 7,900 meters (26,000 feet). The Turkish military was to receive its first Anka by the end 2013 but development problems delayed that until 2015 and Anka entered service (for surveillance only) in early 2016. Turkey is already working on a larger (four ton) version of Anka that can carry missiles or a lot more reconnaissance equipment.

Turkey's economy has been booming since the late 1990s, partly because a new government made good on its pledge to crack down on the corruption that had long crippled the economy. As the economy grew, the government sought to make Turkey more self-sufficient in military equipment, and UAVs are considered part of this program. For armed UAVs this became essential as the United States was reluctant to sell Turkey this equipment because of the growing influence of Islamic conservatives within the government.


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