The U.K. Defense Secretary on Wednesday lauded performance of Turkish combat drones and electronic warfare (EW) systems in Libya and Syria respectively.
“We need to look at the lessons of others. Look how Turkey has been operating in Libya where it has used Bayraktar TB-2 UAVs since mid-2019. Those UAVs have conducted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting operations against frontlines, supply lines and logistics bases,” Ben Wallace said during Royal Air Force’s online Air and Space Power Conference 2020, referring to the Turkish military equipment.
The Libyan Civil War is touted as the largest drone war in the world with both warring sides – GNA and Haftar Army- together conducting over 1,000 drone strikes. Unconfirmed reports claim GNA’s Turkey-supplied Bayraktar TB2 and Anka-S armed drones to have destroyed at least 20 Pantsir air defense systems, ground targets and warplanes.
Wallace added that in July 2019, Turkey struck the Libyan National Army (LNA)-controlled Jufrah air base, destroying several command and control nodes and two transport aircraft.
“Or consider Turkey’s involvement in Syria and its use of electronic warfare, lightly armed drones, and smart ammunition to stop tanks, armored cars, and air defense systems in their tracks,” Wallace said. He cited reports that claimed that the Syrian regime lost 3,000 soldiers, 51 tanks, 8 helicopters, 3 drones, 3 fighter jets, 8 aerial defense systems and one headquarters, among other military equipment and facilities.
“Even if half the claims are true, the implications are game-changing,” the British official said, refering to both drones and EW systems.
“Turkish EW systems blind the Syrian radars and paralyzes their communication / radar network lacking fiber optic communication network,” Hakan Kılıç, a military aviation and defense industry researcher and author, was quoted as saying by Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper in April.
In addition, Turkey attacked Syria from their homeland using F-16 fighters and combat drones- Anka-S and Bayraktar TB2, to abide by the Sochi agreement. “While everyone was suppressing the enemy air defense and doing the SEAD mission with the fighter jets, we had to do it with ANKA-S and TB-2,” Kılıç said.
The MAM-L mini smart ammunition used by drones may not have dismantled the tank with its small warhead, like a guided anti-tank missile, but it has rendered dozens of tanks irreparable, neutralizing hundreds of infantry using many armored vehicles and SAM systems, the expert stressed.
“Both drones can endure EW threats. Anka-S’ ability to attack from a very high altitude and TB-2s' small radar cross-section (RCS) value helped us win against vulnerable Syrian tanks,” he explained.