MERSIN, Turkey — Turkish Aerospace Industries this month unveiled a new combat drone expected to take its maiden flight in the coming months.
Turkish media first ran drawings of the Anka-3 in December, but the company on March 18 released a photo of the combat UAV. The company also said it ran the first taxi tests of the indigenous fighter jet TF-X as well as the Hurjet trainer and light attack aircraft.
At the Border Security Summit held March 21-22 in Ankara, TAI chief executive Temel Kotil said the Anka-3 has begun ground tests ahead of plans for its maiden flight.
“The new unmanned aerial vehicle (UCAV) will be outfitted with the same aviation infrastructure and ground control station as the ANKA drones,” TAI said in a statement. “The first prototype’s structural assembly was completed in January 2023, and ground tests are currently underway. The ANKA-3′s engine will be powered up in April 2023, and the taxi service will begin. The inaugural flight is scheduled for the same month.”
Kotil also discussed technical specifications of the drone during his presentation at the event. According to the CEO, the Anka-3 will have a maximum takeoff weight of 6,500 kilograms (14,330 pounds) and a payload capacity of 1,200 kilograms (2,646 pounds). Its maximum altitude is 40,000 feet, and can last 10 hours at 30,000 feet, he added, which its cruise speed is 250 knots (288 mph) with a top speed of 425 knots (489 mph).
This means the Anka-3 outperforms the company’s other UAVs — the Aksungur and older Anka variants — in terms of speed and payload capacity.
The Anka-3 photo suggests the combat UAV is equipped with two orange-colored drones, which appear to be Simsek target drones converted to serve as loitering munitions — otherwise known as kamikaze drones. The company did not reveal information about the Anka-3′s weapons portfolio and sensors, but it’s expected to feature internal and external weapons stations.
TAI is developing the aircraft primarily for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; deep-strike operations; and the destruction or suppression of enemy air defenses.
The company declined to provide the unit cost of the Anka-3.
Tayfun Ozberk is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News.