Kizilelma combat drone completes maiden flight
December 16, 2022 - Turkish defence firm Baykar has completed the maiden flight of its first jet-powered unmanned aerial combat vehicle (UCAV), as the company continues to help Ukraine’s army fight Russian forces.
Baykar says in addition to conventional drone missions, its Kizilelma UCAV will be able to conduct air-to-air engagements.
“Our 20-year dream in our national drone adventure has come true today,” Baykar chief technical official Selcuk Bayraktar said.
The company’s earlier Bayraktar TB2 drone is in service in 17 countries and has featured prominently in global conflicts. Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has revealed that Ukraine has received 50 armed TB2 drones from the Turkish arms company since Russia’s February 24 invasion.
The fighter-like Kizilelma will increase the top speed of the existing TB2s from 250km/h to 735km/h (0.6 mach) and weapons capacity from 155kg to 1,500kg, enabling it to support a wide variety of air-to-ground and air-to-air missions. The Kizilelma is powered by a single Ukrainian-designed turbofan engine, allowing an endurance of five hours.
After the U.S. dropped Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program, Ankara converted its vertical take-off aircraft carrier, which is still under construction, into a drone carrier. The ship will serve as a base for Kizilema and other drones in use by the Turkish military.