BAYRAKTAR TB2 – THE WAR FOLK HERO
”A video using a song titled “Bayraktar” with sounds of explosions timed to coincide with the beats – has been uploaded on YouTube and played on Ukrainian radio.” This is what war stories and folklores are made of. It takes you to the extraordinary. But Bayraktar is not a soldier or an army commander or an air force pilot, it is a drone. Asymmetric warfare has become the order of the day for quite a few decades now. From the caves of Tora Bora to wreaking havoc in New York, new varieties of wars are being defined. The methodologies have been radically different, but the main aim being to play around the levers of military balance of power, through unconventional means. Bayraktar TB2 has proved to be in that category.
Drones add outstanding elements to the war machine on military strategy scripted for them. It becomes a critical cog in the humongous war machine and cutting edge for the information war or propaganda war, whichever way you look at it. It has been the apple of every eye. If the Russian war machine’s designs for swift results got thwarted, certainly these drones had a role to play. Bayraktar TB2 produced by Turkish firm Baykar is a medium range long endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous operations. It has a chequered track record having come into operation in 2014.
Turkey had used it extensively in strikes on Kurdistan Worker’s Party and People’s Protection Units targets in Iraq and Syria. Bayraktar drones have been used by Azerbaijan in the 2020 Nagrono-Karabakh war and now in the ongoing Russia – Ukraine War by the latter. The Turkish drone is 6.5 mts long and has half the weight of its US brethren Reaper and has the capability to carry four laser-guided missiles. It can fly for 27 hours, to a maximum speed of 220 kms an hour and is operational between 18,000 to 25,000 ft. At USD 2 million it seems to be a kill. Without risking the air force or the army, all devastation of war can be delivered with precision, dynamic and real time. In the initial days of war when the air warning / defence systems of the enemy were not fully in place, it had the potential and has already demonstrated its capability.
Ukraine started acquiring these drones from 2019, but today the exact number of drones available with Ukraine is not known. They have used in a very deft manner. Given the material used for manufacturing this drone, remaining undetected is some conditions and the pilots expertise of handling them, is giving Ukraine a fighting chance. Ukraine has been able to keep up a stiff resistance even after three weeks of war, the Turkish made drones have been carrying out pop-up attacks on the invaders with lethal effectiveness to the surprise of Western military experts. From neutralising tanks to supply lines, there are any number of such instances. With HD video, real time, to the detailing better than of a video game, you can certainly rock the conscience of the world.
FROM PRECISION ATTACK TO BEING AN IMPORTANT TOOL OF INFORMATION WARFARE, DRONES HAVE SUCCESSFULLY JOINED THE MILITARY ARSENAL.