Turkish firm Baykar has completed building the second prototype of Akinci combat drone.
“Her sister has arrived… But we are not neglecting social distancing,” Selçuk Bayraktar, chief technology officer at Turkey's Baykar company said in a Twitter post on May 8.
Baykar started to work to develop the Akinci in May 2017. First prototype of the drone made its maiden flight in December 2019- it flew for 16 minutes after take-off. Prior to this, the Akinci had undergone final ground tests which consisted of short sprints down the runway.
The Akinci belongs to a new class of “heavy” drones. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a wingspan of 20m, and is powered by two Ukrainian AI-450 turboprop engines.
The drone is capable of carrying these payloads: Mini Smart Munition MAM-L, Mini Smart Munition MAM – C, Cirit Missile, L-UMTAS Missile, Mini Smart Munition Bozok, MK-81, MK-82, MK-83 Guided Bombs (JDAM), Wing Assisted Guided Bomb MK-82, Gokdogan and Bozdogan air-to-air missiles, and Stand Off Missile SOM-A.
Baykar claims that the Akinci is equipped with dual artificial intelligence (AI) avionics which supports for signal processing, sensor fusion and situational awareness in real time.
The drone is capable of conducting operations that are being done with fighter jets. It carries electronic support systems, dual satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, collision avoidance radar and synthetic aperture radar. The Akinci can also be used in air-to-ground and air-to air attack missions.
Bayraktar Akinci will be equipped with multifunction AESA Radar system for air-to-air, syntetic, meteorology estimation.
Ukrainian AI-450 engines were installed on the UAV during August last year, after an agreement was signed to create a joint enterprise to be co-owned by Ukraine’s UkrSpecExport and Turkey’s Baykar.
Previously there were plans to equip the drone with RD-222 turbo-diesel engines developed by TUSAS Engine Industries, but the project was subsequently altered to instead use Ukrainian propulsion systems.