Baykar's New Drone Sets Altitude Record with Indigenous Engine

Baykar’s New Drone Sets Altitude Record with Indigenous Engine

Baykar’s cutting-edge Bayraktar TB3 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) has achieved a major milestone, shattering the altitude record by climbing to 33,000 feet during recent flight tests. Remarkably, this record was set while powered by an indigenously developed Turkish engine.

The TB3 completed its 34th and 35th test flights at the AKINCI Flight Training and Test Center in Tekirdağ province using the PD-170 turboprop engine produced by TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI). This marks the highest altitude ever reached by an aircraft equipped with a domestically-manufactured Turkish engine.

Selçuk Bayraktar, CEO of Baykar, hailed the achievement as a historic moment for the nation’s aviation industry. “The Bayraktar TB3 has secured its place in Turkish aviation history with this unprecedented altitude record using an indigenous engine,” he stated.

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Steady Progress Since October Debut

The TB3 first took to the skies on October 27, 2023, in a ceremonial debut flight celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Since then, it has successfully completed medium and high-altitude performance evaluations culminating in this landmark test.

To date, the advanced UCAV has logged over 327 flight hours across 35 test missions. This includes an incredible 32-hour endurance flight last December, covering a distance of 5,700 km (3,541 miles) – a new record for the platform.

The TB3 also achieved another milestone in March when it first flew with the ASELFLIR-500 advanced electro-optic reconnaissance system, renowned globally for its superb capabilities.

Maritime Power Projection

With its foldable wings enabling operation from short-runways aboard ships, the TB3 is destined to become Turkey’s first armed UCAV capable of ship-based operations. This ship-borne capacity, combined with its satellite communications for over-the-horizon missions, will significantly boost Turkey’s maritime reconnaissance and strike abilities.

Selçuk Bayraktar confirmed plans to conduct TB3 shipboard trials aboard Turkey’s new amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu in 2024 as the next major milestone.

Exports Drive Growth

The privately-owned Baykar has seen meteoric growth in recent years, catalyzed by surging export sales of its drones worldwide. In 2023, export contracts constituted a remarkable 97.5% of Baykar’s revenue from 34 nations, including 33 for the Bayraktar TB2 and 9 for the Akinci UCAV.

The company was Turkey’s top defense exporter last year with $1.8 billion in sales, accounting for one-third of the sector’s total exports. Baykar’s success underscores the rising global demand for its powerful, affordable and proven unmanned aerial systems.

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