Türkiye’s unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), Bayraktar TB3, tailored for the country’s newly commissioned aircraft carrier, successfully completed a long-duration flight test on Wednesday, remaining airborne for 32 hours, its developer said.
According to the statement from Baykar, after its first flight on Oct. 27, Bayraktar TB3 UCAV underwent consecutive performance tests, including the 13th flight test dubbed the endurance flight test.
During the test conducted at the Akıncı Flight Training and Test Center in Çorlu, Tekirdağ, the Bayraktar TB3 UAV remained continuously in the air at an average altitude of 20,000 feet for 32 hours.
The national UCAV took off with the PD-170 engine developed domestically by TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI).
Bayraktar TB3 covered a total distance of 5,700 kilometers (3,541.8 miles) in the sky during its 32-hour flight, the company said.
In the earlier 12th flight test measuring mid-altitude system performance, Bayraktar TB3 remained airborne for 12 hours, thus breaking its own record.
To crown the Republic’s 100th year, Bayraktar TB3 UAV was publicly displayed for the first time at Istanbul Atatürk Airport during the major technology event Teknofest, held from April 27 to May 1.
Subsequently, it was displayed at Teknofest events in Ankara and Izmir.
With its foldable wing structure, the Bayraktar TB3 UAV will be the world’s first armed unmanned aerial vehicle capable of takeoff and landing on short-runway ships like the TCG Anadolu, which was commissioned earlier this year.
Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s chief technology officer (CTO) and chairperson of the board, earlier announced plans to begin testing Bayraktar TB3 to operate on the ship as of next year.
With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,450 kilograms (3,196.70 pounds) and a payload capacity of 280 kilograms, the Bayraktar TB3 is nearly two times heavier than its predecessor, the Bayraktar TB2.
Since the beginning of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) related research and development (R&D) studies in 2003, Baykar has obtained 83% of all its revenues from exports.
According to data from the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) in 2021 and 2022, Baykar became the export leader in the defense and aerospace industry.
With an export rate of 99.3% in contracts signed in 2022, Baykar conducted $1.2 billion in exports. Export agreements have been signed with a total of 33 countries, including 32 countries for Bayraktar TB2 UAV and eight countries for Bayraktar AKINCI UCAV so far.