Turkish defense giant TAI has recently revealed that it has converted its Target Simulation Drone (TSD) Simsek into a kamikaze drone just like Israeli Harop IAI Harpy 2.
Simsek is Turbo Jet Target Simulation Drone built by TAI. Simsek has top speed of 400 knots (760 km/h) and range of 200 Km. Simsek is modified by TAI to turn it into a kamikaze drone.
It can carry up to 5kg of explosive material, enough to destroy lightly protected targets. Indeed, it is not enough to be effective against armored vehicles but still be able to inflict heavy damages.
The best part is that it can be mounted on Turkish Anka drone. Thus, giving more range and flexibility. Having more than adequate experience in drone technology, it is not too far away to see Simsek in a dedicated “Loitering Munition” role. For now, it lacks AI/ML algorithms for complete autonomous target acquisition but as mentioned earlier that it is not too far nor too challenging for TAI.
Apart from being Kamikaze these drones can be used as decoys to confuse enemy air defense systems. Simsek can be equipped Luneburg lens to emit radiation of a fighter jet to confuse enemy. They are best suited to saturate enemy air defense capacity by mimicking RCS of a dedicated fighter. US X-58 Valkyrie is also able to perform this role but with considerable higher range and avionics to supplement F-22 and F-35 and new F-15EX of United Stated Air Force.
PAC in exhibition at Dubai Airshow 2019 also showed a project of high speed target which is underdevelopment in collaboration with Aviation Innovation Research and Development (AvIRD). This a big step forward.
Currently Pakistan uses variety of indigenously developed or acquired target drones which can be upgraded into dedicated kamikaze drones.
Pakistan’s list of target drones include:
- Nishan Mk-1& 2.
- Chinese S200 & S300.
Out of above-mentioned drones, the best suited drones to be converted into Kamikaze are Tornado and Nishan Mk-2 built by Integrated Dynamics, a Pakistani UAV manufacturer.
Tornado has top speed of 300 knots and range of over 300 km. It can emit false radiation to confuse enemy radars thus saturating enemy air defense systems.
Nishant Mk-2 is also a good choice but lacks in range i.e. 35km but if being dropped from a drone or other airborne platform it still can do the job as it has 35 mins of endurance.
Conclusion: The conversion of “Target Drone” into Kamikaze drone is an efficient way to save precious resources. These conversions can become footprints for more complex loitering systems and munition technology.