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Why TB2 Bayraktar Might Be the Best Drone In Ukraine Today

Bayraktar TB2 Drone. Image Credit: Ukraine Military.
Bayraktar TB2 Drone of the Ukrainian Air Force.

What makes the TB2 Bayraktar so special and lethal on the battlefield of Ukraine today? George Sand, a retired Master Sergeant US Army from The Delta Force, gives us all of the answers:  Turkey and America are allies and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and have among the most formidable armies in NATO. Turkey is not allied with Russia, hence it can block off access in and out of the Black Sea by way of the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara which connects to the Mediterranean.

Political science is a subject that I find personally daunting. To me, it would send computer code programmers sprinting the wrong way down a one-way street. I tend to parry the heavily political aspects of (the) war and lean on the tactical and strategic components to paint a picture of essential maneuvers. The war in Ukraine is different than any war before it for the extensive use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) — drones.

Enter TB2 Bayraktar: it rather blew me away to see and learn about this fully formidable Turkish un-piloted drone that can master the skies of its choice. Its first official act in the Ukrainian combat theater of operations was to whip a** on a strip of Russian-held tactical field repairs. Where had this Bayraktar drone been all our lives?

What makes the TB2 Bayraktar so formidable?

Is it safe to say I think this is the best drone in the war of Russian aggression against Ukraine… no! There is so much ‘dronery’ out there. I would be petrified to be assigned the job of evaluating them all to determine the very best drone on the playing field. What’s more, there exists the ability to “build” a drone designed to fly to a specialized mission.

The twelve characteristics below can be used to judge the worth of a drone model on the battlefield:

1. Weight
2. Size
3. Altitude capability
4. Speed: cruise to dash and duration at dash
5. Weight of carriable payload
6. Target loiter time
7. Duration of flight under a full mission profile
8. Physical durability
9. Duration of operator training time
10. Noise level at cruise speed
11. Noise level at dash speed
12. Overall build complexity and repairability

That’s my list, although geeks will probably have to step forward and make it 25 times longer.

I assigned a value of 1-10 to each of the above characteristics, add them all together, and compare them to the armada of drones I have selected (or was ordered) to evaluate. And the winner is… well, for this paper the winner is the TB2 Bayraktar!

The killing machine’s main characteristics are the following:

Maximum Speed: 160 KIAS Dash
Cruise Speed: 125 KIAS Cruise
Payload Capacity: 620 pounds
Wing span: 46 Ft
Length: 27.4 Ft

In the video below, you can watch some of the drone’s capabilities put to use in the war in Ukraine:

But this is not the last evolution of the Turkish drone.

Enter now the Bayker Bayraktar Akinci

Companies with military technology prowess, upon turning the last bolt on any given complete R&D project, will already have at least a modest idea of where they see their technology advancing in the future. Superpowers, especially, will already have the next-generation project being worked on in series, if not better yet in tandem with the previous generation one.

The Bayker Bayraktar Akinci is another flavor of the drone line that exceeds the TB2 Bayraktar in most 12 characteristics of my list above. The Bayraktar Akıncı is the world’s first production multi-role unmanned combat aircraft. I harbor no compunction in declaring that it whips the pants off of most other drones in terms of flexibility, and therefore lethality.

It is hardly debatable that the most innovative feature of the Akinci is its capability to engage flying aircraft with fire-and-forget Anti-Air-Missiles (AAM) using Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) laser guidance. Another impressive trait of the drone is that it can effectively use its 275+ kilometer maximum range air-to-ground missile with a formidable warhead against deep hardened bunkers, SAM sites, and even water-borne vessels.

TB2 Drone

TB2 Drone. Image Credit: Creative Commons.


TB2 drone of Turkish drone-maker Baykar is seen at a stand during the first day of SAHA EXPO Defence & Aerospace Exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey, November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

TB2 Drone

A view shows fire on Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, Ukraine, in this screengrab taken from a drone video obtained by Reuters on May 8, 2022. Ukrainian Ground Forces/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT

TB2 Drone

TB2 Drone. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

It’s perhaps a bit frightening that a foreign country boasts such deadly drone technology, but recall that Turkey is a NATO member, and also that the United States lays claim to the most advanced and lethal drone program in the world. To mess with America’s drone fleet is to retreat with an MQ9 Reaper up your nose.

George Sand is a Master Sergeant US Army (ret) from the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, The Delta Force. In service, he maintained a high level of proficiency in 6 foreign languages. Post military, George worked as a subcontracter for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the nuclear test site north of Las Vegas Nevada for 16 years. Currently, George works as an Intelligence Analyst and street operative in the fight against human trafficking. A master cabinet-grade woodworker and master photographer, George is a man of diverse interests and broad talents.

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