The Pakistan Air Force has operationalized the Bayraktar TB-2 medium altitude long endurance (MALE) tactical UCAV armed drone for service. An initial batch of the drone and all associated equipment were procured in mid-2021 by Pakistan in a deal with Baykar Defense of Turkey, which also included joint production and development of the larger Anka-S MALE UCAV drone and its future variants.
The TB-2 is a MALE UCAV drone capable of a 27-hour endurance and a flight ceiling of 25,000 feet. The MTOW of the drone is 1,430 pounds, enabling it to carry a variety of ATGMs, air to ground precision munitions and rockets on its four hard points. The TB-2 also provides excellent Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities with a variety of electrooptical payloads. An onboard avionic suite with a triple redundant avionic system encompasses units enabling a fully autonomous taxiing, take-off, landing and cruise.
The TB-2 has SATCOM capabilities as well as datalink (300 km range) and has a 150 kg weapons capacity. The SATCOM full range of the drone is not available publicly but rumored to be 1000 km. The drone also has excellent ECCM capabilities, being able to subdue and resist Russian electronic warfare attacks in Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh. The standard avionics payload configuration includes an electro-optical (EO) camera module, an infrared (IR) camera module, a laser designator, a laser range finder (LRF) and a laser pointer. The TB-2 also has an option to integrate Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) and an AESA radar for airborne surveillance purposes. Standard weapons include 4 MAM-L and MAM-C highly precise GPS/INS guided smart munitions with 8-14 km ranges.
The TB-2 has completed over 400,000 operational flight hours. The TB-2’s anti-armor capabilities are extremely combat proven and extensive. During wartime, the TB2 could survey and detect enemy mechanized formations, air defense sites and troop concentrations either through its signal intelligence arsenal or the impressively long range of its EO/IR sensor (believed to be over 75km against targets such as vehicles), which would then be engaged either directly by TB-2s, or the information could be relayed via datalink to Pakistan’s other strike options such as the Fateh-1 long range guided MLRS. The TB-2 provides the PAF with a highly effective & combat proven tactical unmanned ISTAR+strike platform, especially for penetrating air defenses and conducting strikes on both enemy air defense infrastructure and equipment and the integrated battle groups they are protecting.
It is likely the drones will be shown for the first time to the Pakistani public on the Pakistan Day Parade this year on 23rd March.