After the Nagorno-Karabakh war: British military wants drones based on the Turkish model

Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkish production.picture: Bayhaluk, CC BY-SA 4.0

Unmanned aircraft from the manufacturer Baykar Makina are smaller and cheaper than US products. Losses were hardly significant because of the possible large numbers

In Great Britain there are increasing voices for a new program with armed drones. The of-drones-in-conflict “rel =” external noopener “target =” _ blank “> writes the daily newspaper Guardian citing senior officials from the UK Department of Defense. According to this, the military should procure smaller unmanned aerial vehicles, such as those used by Turkey in Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh. These are significantly cheaper than US combat drones currently used by the Air Force. Therefore, they could be bought in significantly larger numbers.

Azerbaijan’s six-week war of aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh region claimed by Armenia is considered to be the first to be decided with the help of drones. The Azerbaijani military deployed so-called Harop-type kamikaze drones from Israel, which can circle over the area of ​​operation for hours before the impact. The German army had also considered the procurement of these “loitering ammunition” until 2013, but the plans did initially postponed to 2019 and later abandoned in favor of larger drones.

According to the British Secretary of Defense, “groundbreaking” weapon

The decisive factor in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, however, was the “Bayraktar TB2” from Turkey, which the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has assigned to the army in Azerbaijan. They are the figurehead of the new Turkish drone industry and have been able to be armed since 2015. Since then, the aircraft manufactured by Baykar Makina have been carrying out attacks in the Turkish part of Kurdistan, Syria and Libya. In Iraq killed the Turkish military in the summer two senior government officials with a drone.

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British Defense Minister Ben Wallace already had Turkish drones as one in early December “pioneering” weapon called. They were responsible for the destruction of hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles, as well as air defense systems. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense put corresponding videos, which are underlaid with martial music, online during the war.

The price for a Bayraktar TB2 is estimated to be the equivalent of 1.6 million euros, excluding ground stations and other infrastructure only half that. This means that the system costs less than a tenth of the Protector drone made by the US manufacturer General Atomics, which the British Air Force uses wants to modernize their fleet.

Great Britain was the first European country to use armed drones abroad from 2007 onwards also flies the French army General Atomics drone attacks.

Rocket technology from Germany and Great Britain

Because the “Bayraktar TB2” cannot yet be controlled by satellite, its range is limited to 150 kilometers. Its payload is also comparatively low at 150 kilograms, but the drone can carry up to four laser-guided missiles. The weapons come from the Turkish company Roketsan, According to research by the German television magazine “Monitor” they were developed using German technology. Their warheads are based on TDW missiles, one Subsidiary of the European rocket manufacturer MBDA.

A year ago reported the Guardianthat the trigger mechanism for the Roketsan missiles is also based on foreign technology. According to this, the technology comes from a technology transfer from the EDO company in Brighton, which in turn belongs to the US arms company Harris. Another British manufacturer supplied fuel pumps for the “Bayraktar TB2”.

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During the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the “Armenian National Committee” located in the United States had other companies made publicwhose technology is built into the “Bayraktar TB2”. Wescam, the Canadian manufacturer of sensor technology, and the Austrian Engine builder Rotax have since stopped exporting to the Turkish drone manufacturer. According to state-affiliated Turkish media, however, the products are now being replaced by local technology.

Four armed drone powers in Europe

Other states have also recognized the tactical advantage of the small “Bayraktar TB2”. First, Qatar and Ukraine signed contracts with Baykar Makina, and a dozen are said to have been handed over to the Ukrainian military. In total, the government in Kiev wants to buy 48 drones from Turkey. Because this is a considerable amount, the two countries are planning an agreement on the production of the aircraft in Ukraine. Then they could go to Kazakhstan exported.

A year ago, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that he would consider buying the Turkish drone – although Chinese “Rainbow” drones are now heading for Serbia were delivered. So there will soon be four armed drone powers in Europe. Other states that have been following corresponding plans for years have not yet been able to bring about a decision. These include Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
(Matthias monroy)


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