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Turkey showcases TB3 UCAV ahead of first flight

Turkey provided a first look at the new TB3 UCAV, ahead of its formal reveal at the Teknofest event in Istanbul to be held from 27 April to 1 May 2023. (Baykar)

Turkey's Baykar has showcased its Bayraktar TB3 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) ahead of its upcoming first flight.

Images posted online by the manufacturer on 27 March showed for the first time the larger and more capable successor to the TB2.

“Counting the days to [its] first flight”, Baykar’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Selçuk Bayraktar, posted from his official Twitter account.

According to Baykar, the TB3 will be formally revealed at the Teknofest event to be held in Istanbul from 27 April to 1 May 2023. No specifications have been released, although Bayraktar said that the UCAV has the ability to fold its wings, suggesting it may be earmarked for service aboard Turkey's planned TCG Anadolu aircraft carrier.

Besides this one attribute of the TB3, it is possible to draw some other conclusions from the images released. Sharing largely the same configuration as its smaller TB2 stablemate, the TB3 will have a higher maximum take-off weight that will enable it to carry a larger and heavier payload.

The TB3's larger maximum take of weight will enable it to carry more fuel for an extended range and/or time on station compared with the TB2, and this is reflected in the seeming addition of an internal satellite communications antenna, as evidenced by the domed frontal upper fuselage area when compared with the flatter TB2.

The TB3 also has a retractable undercarriage arrangement, compared with the fixed undercarriage of the TB2, which indicates longer range and a higher speed.

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