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Turkish Naval Forces receives first Aksungur UAV

Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) has delivered the first Aksungur armed reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to launch customer Turkish Naval Forces, the Ministry of National Defense announced on its social media account on 21 October.

The medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)-class UAV was received by the service's 312nd Naval UAV Squadron.

The Aksungur is designed to perform day and night intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike missions with its electro-optical/infrared and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payloads, and ability to carry a variety of air-launched precision munitions. According to TAI, the air vehicle can carry up to 750 kg of payload and can stay aloft for 50 hours.

The Aksungur has a maximum take-off weight of 3,300 kg and is 12.5 m long with a wingspan of 24.2 m. It is powered by two PD170 turbo-diesel engines developed by TUSAŞ Engine Industries. Each PD170 engine produces a claimed output of 172 hp power, and is designed to operate at altitudes of up to 45,000 ft (13,716 m), although the stated service ceiling for the Aksungur is 40,000 ft.

TAI also noted that the Aksungur is capable of autonomous operation, and features a redundant automatic flight control system, automatic take-off and landing system, as well as encrypted digital datalinks. Operational range is quoted as more than 250 km with line-of-sight (LOS) communications, although beyond LOS operation can be achieved with a satellite communications datalink.

The air vehicle is equipped with three hardpoints – stressed for 500 kg (inboard), 300 kg (centreboard), and 150 kg (outboard) loads – under each wing for weapon and mission pods. In ground attack mode, it can be armed with a variety of guided weapons including Roketsan's MAM-L/MAM-C smart munitions, L-UMTAS, Cirit-guided missiles, and Mk 81/Mk 82 bombs modified with guidance kits.

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