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Paris Air Show 2023: TAI showcases its new Aksungur MALE armed drone.

| 2023

The 2023 Paris Air Show turns heads as Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) showcases its newest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the AKSUNGUR. A medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) armed UAV, the AKSUNGUR is a marvel of advanced technology, derived from the proven TAI Anka series. Representing TAI's most formidable drone to date, it boasts an impressive payload capacity tailored for various mission-specific equipment.

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TAI showcases its new AKSUNGUR MALE armed drone Paris Air Show 2023 TAI Turkish Aerospace Industries showcases it new AKSUNGUR MALE armed drone at Paris Air Show 2023.  (Picture source Air Recognition)

The AKSUNGUR drone is designed for a wide array of applications, ranging from extended surveillance, signals intelligence, maritime patrol missions, to acting as an unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

This gigantic drone measures 12.5 m in length and stands 3.1 m high on its landing gear. Its high-mounted wings, slightly dihedral in design, span an impressive 24.2 m. The wings' design is completed by small winglets on their ends. Beneath these wings lies a centralized fuselage that accommodates avionics, sensors, and a chin-mounted camera blister. The UAV’s turbocharged engines are mounted beneath each wing, extending backward into tail booms and culminating in vertical stabilizers.

Powering the AKSUNGUR are two forward-mounted PD-170 dual-turbocharged diesel engines, courtesy of Tusaş Engine Industries (TEI). According to TAI, these engines equip the drone with a cruising speed of 180 km/h and a maximum payload of 750 kg up to an altitude of 25,000 ft. Alternatively, it can ascend to an altitude of 35,000 ft with a 150 kg payload. The drone can remain in flight for up to 12 hours during attack or maritime patrol missions, and 24 hours during signals intelligence missions.

The UAV's remote control is facilitated by DO-178B compatible software on a DO-254 compatible ground control station using an encrypted digital data link. The AKSUNGUR offers optional beyond-visual-range operation flexibility via a communications satellite.

What makes AKSUNGUR even more formidable is its ability to integrate weapon systems typically mounted on F-4 and F-16 fighter aircraft. It comes with three hardpoints under each wing for attaching external payloads. TAI proposed an array of armaments to be fitted onto AKSUNGUR, including laser-guided bombs (TEBER-81 and TEBER-82), LUMTAS, MAM-L, Roketsan Cirit, MAM-C, HGK-3, KGK (82), and miniature bombs.

The AKSUNGUR drone exemplifies the continued innovation and evolution of unmanned aerial technology on the global stage. Its unveiling is an impressive highlight of the 2023 Paris Air Show, and we look forward to the significant roles it is set to play in future missions.

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