Ukraine conflict: Turkey airlifts additional TB2 UCAVs to Ukraine

by Gareth Jennings

The Turkish-supplied TB2 UCAV is the only armed UAV in the Ukrainian inventory and as such is highly important to the country's continued war effort against Russia. (Baykar)

Turkey has airlifted additional Baykar Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on 2 March that new combat ready TB2s had arrived in the country as part of a wider package of international military assistance.

“The amount of help we are receiving is increasing […]. Ukraine has already [received] and [put] on combat standby new [Bayraktar UCAVs],” Reznikov announced. The minister's statement followed rumours of a delivery of new TB2s from Turkey after a Turkish Air Force Airbus A400M transport aircraft was tracked flying from Ankara to Poland on 1 March.

Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was known to have received six TB2s from Turkey. The minister did not say how many additional TB2s had been delivered.

The TB2 is the only UCAV in Ukrainian service and was first used by the country in October 2021 when a separatist D-30 122 mm howitzer in the breakway Donbass region was targeted and destroyed. Footage released by the Ukrainian government since the launch of offensive Russian operations on 24 February has shown the TB2s to have been heavily engaged in the fighting, destroying several ground vehicles including Buk surface-to-air missile systems.

The TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was developed to provide the Turkish Army with a tactical intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance capability. According to Janes All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned , it is 6.5 m long and has a 12 m wingspan. With a maximum take-off weight of 630 kg, the air vehicle can carry up to 55 kg in mission system and/or weapons payload. Performance specifications give the Bayraktar TB2 a cruising speed of 70 kt, a range of 150 km, an endurance of 24 hours, and a service ceiling of nearly 30,000 ft.

Chadian Air Force unveils Aksungur UAV

by Jeremy Binnie

Chad's new Aksungur is seen warming up for take-off in a still from a video released by the AAT. (Armée de l'Air Tchadienne)

The Chadian Air Force (AAT) has revealed it has received at least one Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) Aksungur unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

It released a video on 21 April that included footage of an Aksungur with AAT markings and the Turkish-format serial 23013 taking off from Adji Kosseï Air Base at N'Djamena International Airport armed with eight MAM-L small laser-guided bombs. The video also featured AAT personnel being trained by TUSAŞ in Türkiye.

The AAT operates at least two TUSAŞ Anka UAVs and three TUSAŞ Hürkuş-C turboprop light-attack aircraft, which were unveiled when President General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno visited Adji Kosseï Air Base in July 2023.

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US Navy accepts first two Textron T-54 deliveries

by Zach Rosenberg

The first of two Textron T-54s delivered to the US Navy, intended to replace the T-44s. The deliveries were announced on 22 April. (US Navy)

US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) accepted delivery of the first two Textron T-54 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, the service announced on 22 April. The aircraft are set to begin training students at NAS Corpus Christi's Training Air Wing Four in boreal spring 2025, the US Navy (USN) told Janes .

The USN intends to operate 64 of the Textron King Air 200-based aircraft, which will replace the Textron T-44 as the service's main twin-engine pilot training aircraft. Deliveries are set to run through 2026, and the aircraft is meant to operate until 2055.

“This aircraft brings modernised training to student naval aviators and prepares them for the advanced aircraft they will fly in the fleet,” said Captain Duane Whitmer, USN programme manager.

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US Department of State approves Basler BT-67 sale to Argentina

by Zach Rosenberg

The BT-67 is no stranger to Antarctica's harsh climate. This picture displays a Basler BT-67 (re-engined DC-3) in polar configuration equipped with snow skids. (Basler)

The US Department of State has approved Argentina's request to purchase Basler BT-67s, support equipment, and training for up to USD143 million, the department announced on 18 April.

“The proposed sale will … [provide] additional capacity for airdrop and airlift operations to service Antarctica during the winter season,” the announcement read. “This will reduce the burden on other airlift assets in Argentina.”

The number of aircraft to be purchased is unknown, but the deal includes spare engines, ground handling equipment, transport, and personnel training. Basler and the Argentine Ministry of Defense had not responded to Janes questions at the time of publication.

Argentina maintains nearly a dozen research bases on Antarctica, according to the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship. Argentina's air force operates several aircraft types capable of operating in Antarctica, including four Lockheed Martin C-130Hs and seven de Havilland DHC-6s.

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Turkey has airlifted additional Baykar Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Ukra...

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