Israel has shared technology of its Aerostar and Heron UAVs with Turkey to manufacture Bayraktar drones, successful in the Syrian and Libyan battlegrounds, a Russian news outlet has alleged.
Besides sharing similar appearance, the drones have a single turboprop engine. Payload and autonomous operation capabilities of the UAVs are also similar. Tactical and technical characteristics of Turkish Bayraktar TB1 and Bayraktar TB2 stand between those of Israeli Aerostar and IAI Heron drones, Russia’s Federal News Agency (FAN) reported on June 12.
In November last year, Selçuk Bayraktar, chief technology officer at Baykar, the Turkish drone manufacturer, rubbished a report published by The Guardian that claimed that the company was able to develop the sophisticated drones using technology imported from the United Kingdom. "We never got it from you. It is very expensive (and) it does not work in all cases. We have designed and produced a much more advanced, cost-effective version of our own," Selçuk Bayraktar, had said in a Twitter post.
The British daily alleged that "vital assistance" from Brighton-based EDO MBM Technology in the form of supplying the Hornet missile racks helped Turkey become a major player in the armed drone manufacturing industry. Bayraktar TB2 would have failed to fire missiles during tests if not for British technology, the report claimed.
Comparison of technical features:
Service ceiling of the Bayraktar TB2, Aerostar and Heron are 27,000ft, 18,000ft and 32,000ft respectively. Wing span of the three drones in the same order is 12m, 6.5m and 16.6m.
Aerostar has the least endurance of the lot with 12 hours, while Heron can hover in the air for the longest period- 45 hours. Endurance of Bayraktar as claimed by manufacturer Baykar is 24 hours. Heron also has the maximum take-off weight of 1,270kg while that of Aerostar’s and Bayraktar’s is 210kg and 650kg.
The standard payload configuration of the Turkish UAV includes an electro-optical (EO) camera module, an infrared (IR) camera module, a laser designator, a laser range finder (LRF) and a laser pointer. It can employ MAM and MAM-L ammunitions and UMTAS missiles.
Heron’s standard payload is dual (TV/IR) or triple sensor (TV/IR/laser rangefinder) undernose IAI Tamam MOSP and WIDEEYE Scan. In addition, it can have Elta EL/M-2055, SAR/GMTI or EL/M-2022U maritime surveillance radar in large ventral radome, capable of multi-target track-while-scan of up to 32 targets.
The Aerostar is equipped with a large payload bay, and carries several types of payloads, including advanced, stabilized EO/IR sensors, Laser designation, Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR)\GMTI, various electronic intelligence sensors (COMINT, ELIINT) and other advanced payloads.