Turkey reveals details of ‘unmanned’ fighter jet project

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Turkey’s domestically made unmanned fighter jet is seen in this illustration photo shared by Baykar.

Some details on Turkey’s domestically-made unmanned fighter jet, which is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023, were revealed by the chief technology officer (CTO) of leading local drone magnate, Baykar.

Selçuk Bayraktar, who participated in the Aviation and Space Summit organized by Gebze Technical University’s Aviation and Space Club, revealed infographics on the fighter jet project.

According to the shared information, the unmanned fighter jet will conduct a multitude of military actions, such as strategic offensive, close air support (CAS), missile offensive, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD).

The aircraft is set to have a high operational altitude and take-off weight of 5,500 kilograms (12,125 pounds). It will carry a 1,500 kg useful payload.

The unmanned fighter jet is set to have five hours of flight time will be able to reach speeds of up to 800 kilometers per hour (kph) (500 miles per hour – mph – or Mach 0.64).

It is designed in a way to have low visibility and to be able to maneuver aggressively.

Bayraktar previously emphasized that since the domestic development of fighter jets like the F-35 – a program from which Turkey has been expelled – could take an extended period, it may result in Turkey’s platform lagging a generation behind, which is why developing unmanned fighter jets is of particular importance.

Instead of producing an F-35-like aircraft in 15 to 20 years, Bayraktar said, they are concentrating on areas the world is already heading towards – lower-cost, artificial intelligence-equipped unmanned warplanes.

This can make Turkey one of the leading countries in the field as it has succeeded with its “game-changing” UAVs and UCAVs, he said at the time.

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