Turkish unmanned air vehicle (UAV) maker Baykar has continued development of its TB3 unmanned aircraft, including ski-jump tests in preparation for trials aboard Turkey’s sole aircraft carrier.

The developmental TB3, which is destined for service aboard the carrier TCG Anadolu, recently climbed to an altitude of 36,310ft powered by an indigenously developed engine, the Turkish Engine Industries PD-17O, says Baykar.

Bayraktar TB3

Source: Baykar

The TB3 is optimised for shipboard operations

Other recent tests included work at the Baykar Flight Training and Test Centre near the western city of Kesan.

The facility is equipped with a 12° ramp that simulates that ramp aboard TCG Anadolu.

“Seamlessly passing tests, the Bayraktar TB3 is inching closer to operational deployment on the aircraft carrier by undergoing ski-jump tests,” says Baykar.

The company adds the TB3 features folding wings, allowing for easier storage aboard a ship. It will be tested aboard the TCG Anadolu before the end of 2024. 

Following a first flight in October 2023, the TB3 has flown for 445h. A December test saw the aircraft remain aloft for 32h.

March also saw the integration of the locally developed ASELFLIR-500 electro-optical reconnaissance and targeting system aboard the TB3.

Turkish carrier andalou 2

Source: Turkish Navy

The TCG Anadolu. In the absence of fixed-wing fighters the vessel will operate UAVs such as the TB3

In April 2023 Ankara commissioned the TCG Anadolu, stating that the vessel would be the world’s first carrier to operate fixed-wing UAVs in the absence of fighter jets.

The decision to focus on UAVs is somewhat to due to the unavailability of the Lockheed Martin F-35B owing to Anakara’s being dropped from the programme when it elected to obtain Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

The vessel displaces 27,000t, making it slightly larger than the UK’s now retired HMS Invincible.