Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, has said Ukraine is in touch with Turkey for the purchase of more of the country’s Bayraktar TB2 combat drones, medium-sized tactical unmanned aerial vehicles that can carry anti-tank missiles, BBC Turkish service reported on Tuesday.
“We don’t have our own combat drones, we’re trying to produce a type we call the ‘Kamikaze drone.’ In the meantime, we use reconnaissance drones from different countries. We are in contact with Turkey regarding [the purchase of] more attack drones,” BBC quoted Prystaiko as saying on Tuesday.
“Although Turkey supplies them to us, we’re still far from using them effectively. … We have enough drone operators and they’re still being trained in Turkey right now,” the ambassador added.
Ukraine and Turkey have developed close defense industry ties, a relationship that has flourished in recent years.
Ukrainian companies also produce the engines for the Bayraktar TB2 drones, manufactured by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Selçuk Bayraktar. Turkey has sold over 20 of them to Kyiv over the course of two years. Some experts believe the number of TB2s in the Ukrainian arsenal could be even higher.
TB2s, which have a proven track record of success against several adversaries in conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, are also proving effective against Russian forces in the Russia-Ukraine war, a report by the Middle East Eye website said on Monday.
Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, the chief of Ukraine’s Air Force, had confirmed in a Facebook post that they used “life-giving” Bayraktar TB2 drones.
The Ukrainian Embassy released footage of a Russian convoy consisting of more than a dozen vehicles blown to pieces by the strike. The footage was shot near the city of Malyn, about 60 miles northwest of Kyiv.
Other footage released by the Ukrainian military over the weekend indicated that TB2s were operating against Moscow’s forces, destroying long Russian military columns in Kherson, near Kyiv. Dozens of lives and equipment were reportedly lost in the Bayraktar strikes, MEE said.
The website also quoted a Turkish source as saying that the Ukrainians had been using “hit and run” tactics to overwhelm the Russian troops and that TB2’s low visibility and detectability due to their low radar cross-section values helped them considerably against the Russian defense systems.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara, Vasyl Bodnar, also said on Sunday that Turkish-made Bayraktar drones were very efficient in the country’s battle against invading Russian forces.
According to the Baykar website, the TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle can fly up to 138 miles per hour and can carry four smart munitions, or up to 330 pounds. The drone is about 39 feet long with a wingspan of 21 feet with an operational altitude of 18,000 feet.