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Türkiye Unveils Supersonic Twin-Engine Version of ANKA-3 UCAV.

On May 23, 2024, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) CEO Temel Kotil announced that Turkey's ANKA-3 combat drone (UCAV) is set to reach new milestones with the introduction of a supersonic twin-engine version, as reported by Turkiye newspapers. The upgraded ANKA-3 will soon be capable of flying at supersonic speeds, significantly enhancing its operational capabilities.
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 The first prototype of the ANKA-3, featuring a flying wing design, conducted its first flight on December 28, 2023 (Picture source: Turkish Aerospace Industries)

Kotil detailed the production timeline, explaining that one unit had already been manufactured, with eight more currently in production. The plan calls for the production of 20 additional units by the end of 2028, with a final unit equipped with a Turkish engine. In the same statement, Kotil also revealed that a twin-engine version of the ANKA-3, capable of supersonic flight, is in development and intended to accompany the KAAN. 

The ANKA-3 MIUS (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) marks a major advancement in Turkey's defense capabilities, featuring a sophisticated set of functionalities that place it at the forefront of modern military aviation. Developed by TAI, the ANKA-3 is a jet-powered drone designed for high-speed operations, with air-to-ground and air-to-air engagement capabilities. Equipped with a jet engine, it can reach a top speed of 0.7 Mach (800 kilometers/hour), essential for rapid deployment and quick response times in various combat scenarios.

Weighing 7 tons, the ANKA-3 can carry significant payloads, with a maximum takeoff weight of 6,500 kilograms and a payload capacity of 1,200 kilograms. This capability allows it to transport a variety of weapons and surveillance equipment, ensuring its versatility for various missions, from reconnaissance to offensive operations. Its low radar signature, a notable feature, enhances its survivability in contested airspace, enabling it to evade enemy radar systems.

The ANKA-3, sharing common avionics architecture and ground control stations with its predecessors, benefits from proven systems and streamlined operations, ensuring easy integration and operational continuity. It boasts impressive endurance, capable of flying for up to 10 hours at an altitude of 30,000 feet and a service ceiling of 40,000 feet, allowing for prolonged operations and reduced vulnerability to ground threats.

With both line-of-sight (LoS) and beyond-line-of-sight (BLoS) satellite control capabilities, the ANKA-3 can be operated over vast distances, essential for strategic reconnaissance and long-range strike missions. It has a cruising speed of 250 knots (0.42 Mach) and can reach a maximum speed of 425 knots (0.7 Mach) at 30,000 feet.

Currently, the ANKA-3 flies at high subsonic speeds with a single AI-322 engine. The future version will be equipped with two TEI TF10000 turbojet engines, providing 6,000 pounds of dry thrust and 10,000 pounds with an afterburner. This development aligns with Turkey's strategy to deploy UCAVs capable of operating alongside manned and unmanned aircraft and firing missiles.

The new capabilities of the ANKA-3 will enable it to support various types of missions, from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) to electronic warfare and precision strikes. The first prototype of the ANKA-3, featuring a flying wing design, conducted its first flight on December 28, 2023.

In addition to the ANKA-3, Turkey is focusing on developing a robust ecosystem of support technologies, including the Şimşek and Süper Şimşek drones, which have evolved to perform a wide range of autonomous missions. These drones can be equipped with various sensors and warheads for air-to-ground and air-to-air missions, potentially serving as decoys or part of a drone swarm. The ANKA-3 will complement these assets, enhancing Turkey's overall combat capabilities.

The development of domestic engines like the TF10000 is part of a broader effort to reduce dependence on foreign technology, especially given Turkey's complicated relations with the United States. Turkey's advancements in drone technology are also being observed by other nations. For instance, the Indonesian Air Force plans to acquire Chinese CH-4 drones and Turkish ANKA and Bayraktar drones, with ambitions to develop UAVs capable of firing beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles. These advancements highlight a global trend toward integrating advanced unmanned systems into military arsenals, aiming to increase operational efficiency and reduce human casualties.

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