Poland is set to receive 24 Bayraktar TB2 medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) from Turkey, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2022.
The nation’s acquisition of the Turkish-made platform was initially announced by Poland’s Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, via Twitter on May 22. Two days later – on May 24 – an official acquisition contract was signed in Turkey by Błaszczak and the general manager of Baykar Defence, Haluk Bayraktar, in the presence of the Polish President Andrzej Duda and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Alongside the procurement of the Bayraktar TB2s, the deal also includes relevant munitions and ground equipment, along with related logistics and training services.
Poland is procuring four sets of six Bayraktar TB2s, which will complete a fleet of 24 aircraft. According to the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND), each set of the MALE UCAV has an approximate value of US$67m. The MND adds that the platform will be operated by the Polish Army, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2022 and the final example due to be handed over in 2024.
The Polish MND has confirmed that the contract also provides for the delivery of mobile control stations, simulators, synthetic aperture radars (SAR) and associated spare/repair parts. As part of the deal, Poland will also receive an unspecified number of Roketsan MAM-C and MAM-L laser-guided missiles, which the MND states “will enable the implementation of the full spectrum of tactical tasks in accordance with the operational purpose of the system and school ammunition.”
Additionally, the deal includes a 24-month warranty and a logistics/training package, as well as a technology transfer. This will ensure that Poland has the capability to service and repair the Bayraktar TB2’s engines and systems in-country when required, along with the associated ground control stations.
The Bayraktar TB2 completed its maiden flight in June 2009 and is defined as a MALE UCAV, which is capable of conducting a number of different missions, including combat operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks. It is equipped with an avionics system that allows the platform to taxi, take-off, fly and land autonomously. The platform has four hardpoints under its wings, which can be equipped with guided munitions, such as the MAM-C and MAM-L.
In terms of size, the UCAV is 6.5m long, 2.2m high and has a 12m wingspan. According to Baykar Defence – the platform’s manufacturer – the TB2 has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 650kg, a payload capacity of 150kg and an endurance of up to 27 hours. It adds that the aircraft has a service ceiling of 27,000ft and has a maximum speed of 120kts.
AirForces Intelligence data states that – as of May 24, 2021 – the Bayraktar TB2 is currently operational with the armed forces of Azerbaijan, Qatar, Turkey and Ukraine. The platform is also employed by the pro-Government of National Accord (GNA) forces of Libya. Poland’s acquisition of the TB2 is significant, given that it is the first NATO member state to procure the platform outside of Turkey.