Saturday 6 August 2022 11:10 AM Drone making mincemeat of Putin's army: Turkish TB2 so loved by Ukraine that ... trends now

Saturday 6 August 2022 11:10 AM Drone making mincemeat of Putin's army: Turkish TB2 so loved by Ukraine that ... trends now
Saturday 6 August 2022 11:10 AM Drone making mincemeat of Putin's army: Turkish TB2 so loved by Ukraine that ... trends now

Saturday 6 August 2022 11:10 AM Drone making mincemeat of Putin's army: Turkish TB2 so loved by Ukraine that ... trends now

It's not often that a weapons system inspires a hit viral folk song, especially one with lyrics that talk of destroying ‘inventory’ and ‘Russian tankmen hiding in the bushes’, but then it is hard to underestimate the appeal of the Bayraktar TB-2.

For ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this Turkish aerial drone has proved to be one of the biggest ‘hits’ of the war – at least for the Ukrainians. Since February, the Bayraktar, which costs in the region of one to two million dollars, has obliterated an astonishing amount of Russian equipment, including ten helicopters, thirteen surface-to-air missile systems, seven armoured vehicles, twenty-seven other vehicles, six naval vessels, and numerous other targets such as command posts and fuel dumps.

Little wonder then, that the technology has become a vital component in the war against Putin’s forces, as it scouts terrain and identifies targets before carrying out precision strikes using laser-guided weaponry.

A fearsome Bayraktar drone is pictured at a test centre in Istanbul before shipment in July

A fearsome Bayraktar drone is pictured at a test centre in Istanbul before shipment in July

Footage recorded by a Bayraktar drone above Snake Island shows Ukraine wrecking targets

Footage recorded by a Bayraktar drone above Snake Island shows Ukraine wrecking targets

The Bayraktars took on a vital role in the early days of the conflict with Russia, helping to keep Kyiv out of Putin’s reach. They were in play just days after the war began. Most famously, they were sent to destroy Russian fuel trucks, rendering inoperable the tanks that had formed a miles-long military convoy heading towards the Ukrainian capital. The images of beleaguered Russian armoured vehicles abandoned at the side of the road was an early win for Ukraine in the all-important propaganda war.

A crucial characteristic of Turkish drones is that they are nearly invisible to conventional air defence systems. TB-2s drones are able to evade S-300s, the next generation of Russian-developed defensive missile batteries. In Azerbaijan in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Turkish drones were reported to have not only avoided the S-300s, but then also taken them out.

TB-2s were also used to destroy numerous Pantsirs - the Russian-designed anti-missile system that have been the mainstay of defence against Western offensives - in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

In fact, the Bayraktar is proving so troublesome to Putin’s ambitions, that it has been reported that Moscow is now offering a 50,000-rouble (£800) reward for each destroyed drone. In addition, it has also been rumoured that Russia, with a somewhat unsophisticated drone programme of its own, is eyeing up Iranian drones in order to try to restore the balance in the ‘drone wars’. Whether any deal has taken place is yet to be confirmed.

The Turkey-made drones are so troublesome that Moscow is offering cash to destroy them

The Turkey-made drones are so troublesome that Moscow is offering cash to destroy them

Defence officials taxi a vehicle at an air base in Lithuania in July as it prepares to go to Ukraine

Defence officials taxi a vehicle at an air base in Lithuania in July as it prepares to go to Ukraine

Each one costs around $2million, just one fortieth of the cost of an American F-35 fighter jet

Each one costs around $2million, just one fortieth of the cost of an American F-35 fighter jet

Of course, Putin would

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