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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

TB2: The Drone Ukraine Is Using To Fight Back Against Russia

Bayraktar TB2 Drone
Bayraktar TB2 Drone of the Ukrainian Air Force.

Almost three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military continues to deliver lethal lessons to Russian forces. The Bayraktar TB2, an unmanned aerial system, has played an important role. 

TB2 Bayraktar 

Made in Turkey, the Bayraktar TB2 is a medium altitude and long-range tactical unmanned aerial system. 

In addition to strike missions, the Bayraktar TB2 can conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. 

Powered by a Rotax 912 internal combustion engine that can produce more than 100 horsepower worth of thrust and moves a two-bladed variable pitch propeller at the back of the aircraft, the Bayraktar TB2 can reach speeds of 80 to 138 miles per hour (or 70 to 120 knots per hour). The unmanned aerial system had a maximum operational altitude of approximately 27,000 feet, a maximum range of 93 miles (or 150 kilometers), and operational endurance of 27 hours. 

The Bayraktar TB2 can pack up to 330 pounds (150 kg) of munitions. It can carry four MAM-C or MAM-L air-to-ground missiles. The former weighs 14 pounds and has a multi-purpose warhead with high explosive and armor-piercing capabilities. At the same time, the latter has a 48-pound warhead and can also carry a multi-purpose warhead and a thermobaric one. 

Manufactured by the Baykar Makina, the drone’s primary customer is the Turkish military. However, Ankara has been exporting the unmanned aerial system, and the drone has seen action with Kazakh military during the Armenia-Kazakhstan war in 2020, in Libya, Syria, and now in Ukraine. 

The Bayraktar TB2 is an established unmanned aerial system with more than 200,000 operational flight hours under its wings. 

Each Bayraktar TB2 has a price tag of approximately $5 million. 

The Bayraktar Over Ukraine 

More than two months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Ukrainian airspace is still contested. The Russian Aerospace Forces have failed to achieve air dominance largely because of a combination of the robust Ukrainian air defenses—bolstered by timely and proactive intelligence sharing from the U.S. and other Western countries—and Russian military shortcomings. 

As a result, the Ukrainian Air Force continues to fly sorties daily despite its opponent’s vast numerical and technological superiority. 

The Bayraktar TB2 has been racking up kills. The unmanned aerial system reportedly played a part in the sinking of the Russian ballistic missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, distracting it while two Ukrainian Neptun anti-ship missiles struck the warship. 

Indeed, the Bayraktar TB2 has been highly effective against naval targets. Recently, the Ukrainian Air Force used a Bayraktar TB2 to successfully engage and destroy two Russian Raptor fast-attack boats in the Black Sea. And the drone is proving the bane of Russian forces occupying the famous Snake Island on the Black Sea. Footage released by the Ukrainian Armed Forces shows the Bayraktar TB2 destroying a command center and ammunition depot on the island. 

Thus far in the war, the unmanned aerial system has been able to destroy Russian Pantsyr-S1, Tor SAM-15, 9K35 Strela-10, ZU-23-2, and BUK SA-11 short-and medium-air defense systems.

TB2 – It Is Not Invincible 

But the notion of the unbeatable, all-powerful Bayraktar TB2 is misleading. The unmanned aerial system has its limitations, and the Russian military has managed to shoot down several drones. 

In a recent interview, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted that although the Bayraktar TB2 has played an important role, it is not invincible.

“With all due respect, those or other drones can help, but do not affect the result. Because there is a history of missiles, artillery, air defense” the Ukrainian president had said. 

It is worth noting that the Russian military also doesn’t possess advanced counter-drone capabilities, or at least not as advanced as some other countries. So, the Bayraktar TB2 performs better than it would normally do against an opponent with competent anti-aircraft and counter-drone capabilities. 

Bayraktar Diplomacy 

Turkey and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have adroitly used the Bayraktar TB2 in the conflict in Ukraine for diplomatic purposes. 

Ankara has provided Ukraine with the Bayraktar TB2s before and after the Russian invasion. But the high-profile successes of the Turkish-made unmanned aerial system—the Ukrainians have even made a song about it—have obscured Turkey’s strategic ambiguity concerning the war. 

TB2 Drone

TB2 Drone. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Although a NATO member and supposed U.S. ally, Turkey is the only NATO state to have allowed Russian flights to pass through its airspace. Ankara closed its airspace to Russian military flights with troops a few days ago, but it only did so almost after two months of the war, when the Russian military would have already moved any troops required. Moreover, Turkey closed the Bosporus Straits in Instanbul to all military vessels only after the Russian Navy sent all necessary warships. 

It seems that Turkey is looking to compensate for its pro-Russian actions by selling and praising the Bayraktar TB2 drone to Ukraine. 

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Alex

    May 4, 2022 at 10:16 am

    William Scott Ritter, Jr. is an American military analyst. Intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served in this position for about 12 years. He became the Marine Rapid Deployment Force’s lead analyst on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War. United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq.
    During Desert Storm, he served as an adviser to General Norman Schwarzkopf on ballistic missiles. Ritter later worked as a security and military consultant for the Fox News network. According to an interview he gave to Democracy Now! in 2003, he also had a long official relationship with the British foreign intelligence agency MI6.
    If the Bandera Nazis start squealing that he was bought by Putin, then let them shove their squeal up their ass.
    Here are Scott Ritter’s words:

    “Do you want to name the best students of military science today? These are Russian officers! And we treat them like children – “these are Russians.” And they are the most educated and trained officers of all who can be found. They understand everything better than us. They didn’t spend 20 years kicking down doors and slaughtering families in Iraq or crawling up hills in Afghanistan to kill a shepherd, that’s what we did, and the Russians think big.

    We think in small arrows. We watch a video of how a Russian column is destroyed or three tanks are knocked out. War is hell, people die there, and if you look at the little arrows, you will think that the Russians are defeated. But look at the big arrows! The Russians kept the 100,000-strong group of Ukraine in Kyiv. If they are not threatened, they will move forward for reinforcements.

    Therefore, you (Russians) send 40 thousand soldiers from Belarus and hold the enemy in place. You have 80,000 enemy forces in Odessa, you send 30,000 soldiers from Crimea – their (Security Council of Ukraine) group is stuck. You have 100,000 enemies in the Donbass, and you, the Russian troops, cannot let them go to Kyiv. You send the militia of Donetsk and Lugansk to the front line. The most difficult situation! But you clung to the enemy and hold him, don’t let him move!

    You are conducting a through attack to break through the corridor to the Crimea. And Mariupol is a key city on the way, we had to take it. The only city for which the Russians fought. Why? Because he was the only one that mattered. The rest played no role.

    You will not take 3 million Kyiv with a force of 40 thousand. It doesn’t happen! You will not take 1.6 million Kharkiv with a force of 50 thousand. But you will take Mariupol. They had to take it. This was a strategic necessity.

    This whole phase was the preparation of the battlefield. The Russians have destroyed fuel storage facilities in Ukraine. What is a tank without fuel? Coffin! And the truck? Another coffin. Warehouses of ammunition and food are blown up. A soldier who is hungry and thirsty will be killed.

    The Russians have rearranged everything for themselves in order to prepare for a massive pincer attack that will fall into the forces of the Ukrainians, who will have no food, no water, no fuel, no ammunition. Here’s what the second phase will look like.

    The Russians have moved away from Kyiv, they no longer need to hold that grouping, it will not be able to move without fuel anyway. They’re stuck! If they leave the city, Russian aircraft will destroy them. There will be no reinforcements, the enemy in Donbas cannot move. They are trapped.

    The Russians have closed the ring and will destroy everyone. Or they will capture a huge part of the Ukrainian army. And when that happens, there will be nothing left. And the Russians will be able to demand whatever they want. That’s why I say the Russians will win. Because I see the situation. I do not flatter myself with the illusions that “the Russians could not take Kyiv and Odessa.” THEY DIDN’T TRY!”

  2. Alex

    May 4, 2022 at 10:17 am

    German journalist Thomas Röper: Ukrainians are very afraid that the Russians will leave.
    The journalist spoke about the distortion of facts in the Western media:

    “I was three times in the south (Ukraine). The first trip was also to Melitopol. And so, on this trip, I was most impressed by the fact, or the fear that you see there in the eyes of people. And not among those who do not agree with the military operation, and according to my estimates, this is a minority. It is they who swear, the camera writes, and they will say how much they disagree. And those who agree are the majority.

    I see it in the squares, when there are hundreds of people, they walk past the soldiers and say in a whisper: “Thank you guys, don’t leave.” They are very afraid, and they said it directly. They are very afraid that the Russians will leave and there will be reprisals. What, in my understanding, happened in Bucha, by the way.

    And the fact that now, Alina said, from Mariupol is another such example. The woman was afraid to just speak the truth. Afraid that, God forbid, the Russians would leave and there would be reprisals. I don’t want to take too much time now, I just want to give one example, because the West always says it’s Russian propaganda if they say that Azov and other units of the Ukrainian troops use civilians as a “human shield”.

    I write in German, and the other day I read an article in the German magazine Spiegel, which is probably known to many. And there was a very surprising offer. So they wrote… Everything, of course, sounded very positive, but they wrote that in Mariupol… More precisely, they (the newspaper) were told by people in Zaporozhye who had come from Mariupol, telling them that their national battalions held them, “politely of course”, held peaceful residents to the basement, and took positions in the apartments above these basements. It sounds in the Western media as if they are protecting them. Excuse me, what is this? If the fighters take up their combat positions above the basements where civilians are sitting, and how voluntarily they went to this basement.

    Most people know the truth, but the Western media do not need this truth, they have a different manual, you need to do everything the other way around, and if it doesn’t work out the way America wants, you get sanctions, but the EU countries, not Russia, they will die after the first package of sanctions.

  3. Alex

    May 4, 2022 at 10:17 am

    Finally our lands are back!

    The ex-deputy of the Rada announced the beginning of the “attachment” of the west of Ukraine to Poland.

    Ex-deputy of the Rada Ilya Kiva announced the first stage of the annexation of Western Ukraine by Poland.

    “This is the first stage before secession and the creation of a “pro-Western Ukraine” with its capital in Lviv. With subsequent accession, through a referendum, to Poland,” he said.

    According to the ex-people’s deputy, Kyiv has changed the strategy for the use of weapons that it receives from Europe. Now they are not transported to the war zone, but left in the west. Thus, a “new line of defense” is being formed, thanks to which it will be possible to achieve the annexation of this region by Poland, Kiva believes.

    Last week, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, said that Poland intends to establish tight military-political control over “its historical possessions” in western Ukraine. According to him, Warsaw expects that the consolidation in these territories will most likely lead to a split in the country, and Poland will receive control over the lands occupied by “peacekeepers”.

  4. Alex

    May 4, 2022 at 11:18 am

    Director Oliver Stone described the scenario of US nuclear sabotage.

    The author of the films “Ukraine on Fire” and “In the Struggle for Ukraine” noted that now the West is already masterfully and with the use of brute force is waging an information war against Russia.
    American director Oliver Stone said that the most gloomy scenario for the development of the conflict in Ukraine remains a nuclear provocation by the United States. He shared this message on Twitter.

    According to him, in this case, Washington will not even have to cover its tracks, since Russia is considered to be the main initiator of all atrocities. Stone wondered if the United States was creating “the conditions for a high-yield nuclear explosion of unknown origin somewhere in the Donbass” that would incur the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians.

    “Of course, if this, God forbid, happens, the whole world, like Pavlov’s trained dog, will blame Russia for everything. This guilt has already been established in advance, regardless of who presses the button,” the director wrote.

    The United States deliberately hushed up the crimes of the Kyiv regime against the civilian population in Ukraine, which have been going on since 2014, Stone recalled. He also stressed that now the West “with skill and brute force” is waging an information war against Russia.

    Earlier, US General Mark Milley said that the likelihood of a clash between the great powers is growing. The military also spoke about the events in Ukraine, calling them the biggest security threat in Europe, and possibly the whole world, for “more than 40 years of his military career.”

  5. Vladolph Putler

    May 4, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Таким образом, мы видим, что раздражает россиянина. Метаясь взад и вперед в одеялах, потея и бессвязно бормоча.

    БАЙРАКТАР!!! О, нет. Снова помочитесь в постели. 🙁

    Now we know what Russians dream about! 😀

  6. CK

    May 4, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    It’s pointless to argue with this troll. He is not here for engagement, as he has realised recently pretty much everybody on this board is against him. He has been transparently exposed as the exceedingly obvious Internet Research Agency employee he is, working for Yevgeny Prigozhin – an oligarch with close ties to Putin.

    He is either operating out of the IRA headquarters building at 55 Savushkina Street, St.Petersburg if he is lucky, or more likely, out of a shed in the massive Arsenal Machine-Building Factory at Komsomol, 1-3, also St.Petersburg, if he is unlucky.

    I gather the latter, seeing as he is exceedingly stupid and dim-witted, as you have noticed. His tactics are fairly simple:

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study his “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

    Having realised he can’t gain traction on this board now, he has resorted to two simple strategies:

    1) Be the first to comment on any article. This ensures anyone reading the article for the first time will inevitably stumble upon whatever his message of the day is, before it gets buried.

    2) Ideally, be the LAST person to comment on any article. Have the last say. For the same reasons as above. If there is a large discussion, people will usually scroll all the way down, and voila, you see his targeted message again.

    And that’s it. Every day, he blankets every article with the same copy + pasted content, over and over again. Saturation. This is how he ensures the message is seen one way or another.

    Funnily enough, if you copy + paste some of his bollocks onto google, you find other websites where you can almost verbatim find 100% matches. These are either Alex himself operating elsewhere, or the “daily script” these idiots are given by their supervisors to disseminate for this day, sent by other colleagues. You can find dozens of duplicates on similar websites.

    Unfortunately, the shoddy or non-existent moderation and supervision of this website allows this to happen day, after day, after day. Anywhere else, he would have been banned by now.

    To know more, one can google Internet Research Agency, look up the guardian article published a few days ago on the troll factories in St.Petersburg, and also look up the account by an ex employee who spoke about it.

    Very illuminating stuff!

  7. Alex

    May 4, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    Hysteria, fantasies, lies, madness – this is all that is left of the Bandera trolls. These bastards can’t even comment on the words of respected people all over the world. Project “Ukraine” is closed forever.

  8. Vladolph Putler

    May 4, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    Just a friendly poke in the nose. And a chuckle for any Russian speakers- assuming they possess humor. Not trying to “convert” or chase off Alex. That would be a tragedy. He makes a *great* stage prop. So great, it’s hard to not wonder if he actually plays for the other team! 😀

  9. Ali Ercan

    May 4, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    Edit is needed: the war was between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not Kazakhstan. Thanks.

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