Türkiye’s first indigenous UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) Bayraktar TB2 has successfully completed 750,000 flight hours, setting a new record in Turkish aviation history.
Bayraktar TB2 UCAV System, which made many unprecedented achievements in the history of Turkish aviation, has successfully completed 750,000 flight hours. Bayraktar TB2 UCAV thus became the indigenous aerial vehicle to spend the longest time in the Turkish skies, approaching one million hours of service.
ENTERED IN INVENTORY IN 2014
Developed by Baykar, the manufacturer of Türkiye’s indigenous UCAV systems and recognized as the best in its class globally in terms of technical specifications and participation in operations, Bayraktar TB2 entered the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2014. Armed in 2015, the UAV is currently operated by the TSK, the Gendarmerie General Command, the Turkish National Police, and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT). Bayraktar TB2 UCAV has been actively involved in counter-terrorism operations at home and abroad since 2014.
ORGANIZED AID CAMPAIGNS IN 7 COUNTRIES
The Ukrainian military actively uses Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs for defensive purposes in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. People in Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Norway, Spain and Canada organized fundraising campaigns in the past to buy Bayraktar TB2s and donate them to the Ukrainian armed forces. Baykar, instead of accepting the donations collected from campaigns in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Poland, donated the funds raised to purchase Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs to meet the humanitarian needs of the Ukrainian people.
RECORD RATE OF INDIGENOUS PARTICIPATION
Baykar, which has been developing the most valuable software and hardware systems in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles with its team of Turkish engineers since the early 2000s, is recognized as one of the world’s leading technology companies with engineering power in 13 different disciplines. Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, whose critical components, designs, and software are developed nationally and independently by Baykar, are produced with a record-breaking domestic industry participation rate of 93% at the Özdemir Bayraktar National Technology Center in Istanbul.
HOLDER OF RECORDS
On July 16, 2019, Bayraktar TB2 UCAV set a record by flying for 27 hours and 3 minutes continuously under challenging geographical and climate conditions such as high temperature and sandstorms during a demonstration flight in Kuwait. Indigenous UCAVs continue to operate in all weather conditions, including desert heat, freezing cold, snow, and storms, from Europe to Africa. With 750 thousand flight hours, the national UCAV has made history in Turkish aviation, holding the title of the aircraft that has served Türkiye successfully for the longest time.
MADE A MARK ON OPERATION OLIVE BRANCH
Bayraktar TB2 UCAV actively participated in domestic and cross-border operations conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces, such as the ‘Trench’ operations, Operation Euphrates Shield, and Operation Olive Branch. Defense experts noted that indigenously UCAVs played a crucial role in those operations, leading to shorter-than-expected durations and fewer casualties. Bayraktar TB2 UCAV systems, especially during the Olive Branch Operation in Afrin, made its mark on the operation by conducting more than 90% of all flights, with a total of 5,300 flight hours.
WATCHING THE BLUE HOMELAND
Participating in many operations against terrorist organizations, such as Operations Claw and Hawk, Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs continue to play a significant role in operations targeting the so-called leaders of separatist terrorist organizations. In addition to those missions, indigenous UCAVs contribute to the protection of the Blue Homeland. In this context, they provided air support for our drilling ships operating in the Eastern Mediterranean. On December 16, 2019, Bayraktar TB2 UCAV made a historic flight by taking off from the Dalaman Naval Air Base Command and landing at Geçitkale Airport in Cyprus to be stationed for operations in the TRNC.
WORKING IN EARTHQUAKES
Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs contributed significantly to earthquake response. After the earthquake centered in Sivrice, Elazığ, on January 24, 2020, they quickly moved to the region, providing real-time images and information to crisis command centers in Ankara and earthquake-affected provinces from the 25th minute onward. In the earthquakes on February 6, 2023, known as the Century’s Disaster, they operated for 2417 hours and 6 minutes. In total, 42 Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, including 8 with Baykar Rapid Mapping Pods, participated in these missions, supporting search and rescue efforts from the sky and controlling intense vehicle traffic after earthquakes.
INVOLVED IN THE RESCUE OF MIGRANTS
Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs track irregular migration movements in the Aegean and Mediterranean from the sky, contributing significantly to saving the lives of irregular migrants and documenting human rights violations, such as pushbacks, which remain on the world’s agenda.
FOUND THE LOST TOURIST IN ULUDAĞ
Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs also play an active role in search and rescue operations conducted in nature. On December 31, 2021, they helped locate Yusuf Sepehizade, a Danish citizen who went hiking on Mount Uludağ in Bursa and got lost as weather conditions worsened. Unable to reach the area due to worsening weather conditions, the teams in the region identified the location of the lost tourist using Bayraktar TB2 UCAV operated by the Gendarmerie General Command, which took off from Aydın. After being located from the sky, the missing tourist was rescued by the teams in the area.
DETECTING FOREST FIRES
In addition to security and humanitarian aid missions, Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs also play a crucial role in combating forest fires. In collaboration with the Directorate General of Forestry (OGM), Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs have been actively involved in early detection and efficient management of forest fires since 2020. From 2020 to the present, a total of 3,166 forest fires have been detected by Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs. This has marked the first use of high-tech UAVs in Europe to combat forest fires.
Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, stationed at centers determined by OGM, scan an area of 400 km² in one go through thermal cameras and can detect fires up to 185 kilometers away in the initial stages. From 2020 to 2023, Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs detected 345, 267, 1,109, and 1,445 forest fires respectively, playing an effective role in extinguishing forest fires. As a result, the response time to forest fires in our country has been reduced from 45 minutes to as low as 11 minutes.
IMPRESSION IN THE WORLD DURING OPERATION PEACE SPRING
Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs contributed significantly to the success of the Turkish Armed Forces in increasing reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities during Operation Peace Spring, leaving a lasting impact. In Operation Spring Shield, for the first time, they flew in fleets and successfully destroyed many armored vehicles, howitzers, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), and air defense systems.
Bayraktar TB2 UCAV participated in the Spring Shield Operation, where UAVs were used as the primary element in combat for the first time in the world, carrying out 80% of all sorties performed by participating aircraft. Despite all electronic warfare in the Idlib region of Syria during the operation, Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs flew over 2,000 hours. The fact that Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, flying in fleets for the first time in the history of combat, played an effective role in the operation garnered great attention in the world press.
SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE LIBERATION OF KARABAKH
Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs played a crucial role in ending the approximately 30-year-long occupation of Karabakh by the neighboring country, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan initiated a military operation against the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia on September 27, 2020. Forty-four days after the start of the operation, on November 10, 2020, the Azerbaijani Army ended the occupation by taking control of Nagorno-Karabakh. During the operation against Armenia, the Azerbaijani Army used Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, developed nationally and independently by Baykar, on all fronts.
According to confirmed studies by defense analysts, many air defense systems, radar systems, tanks, armored vehicles, trucks, ammunition depots, positions, and units belonging to the Armenian Army were destroyed with Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs. The success of the Azerbaijani Army, which surprised the world, led to comments by the world media and defense experts that Turkish UCAVs changed the course of military history and became a game-changer.
CHILDREN IN UKRAINE NAMED AFTER BAYRAKTAR
With its superior success in the Ukraine-Russia war that began in February 2022, Bayraktar TB2 UCAV became a hero among the Ukrainian people. It changed the balance as a force multiplier in the war. A radio channel named “Bayraktar Radio” started broadcasting in honor of the armed UAV, for which anthems were composed and toys were made.
Even some newborn boys were given the name “Bayraktar.” In addition to its impact on the battlefield, Bayraktar TB2 became a symbol of hope in Ukraine. The success in Ukraine showed the influence of Bayraktar TB2 and demonstrated its status as the best in its class to the world.
IN THE SKIES OF NATO AND EU COUNTRIES
Through a competitive process, Baykar surpassed its American, European, and Chinese competitors and started the year 2023 with a $370 million export contract for Bayraktar TB2 signed with the Kuwait Ministry of Defense. With the exports to Romania, Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs entered the inventories of four NATO member countries and two EU member countries.
EXPORT TO 33 COUNTRIES
Baykar, which has carried out all its projects with its own resources since its establishment, generated 83% of its revenue from exports since the beginning of the UAV R&D process in 2003. According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), Baykar became the export leader in the defense and aviation sectors in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, with export rates of 99.3% in the contracts signed, Baykar generated $1.2 billion in exports. Export agreements have been signed with 32 countries for Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, 8 for Bayraktar AKINCI UCAVs, and a total of 33 countries to date.