Friday, January 27, 2023

Turkish unmanned fighter aircraft makes its first flight

The potentially game-changing Kizilelma unmanned fighter aircraft has taken to the skies for its inaugural flight on Dec. 14.

On Wednesday, Turkish-based Baykar company released footage from the successful first test flight for the highly-ambitious Kizilelma drone.

“Our 20-year dream in our national drone adventure has come true today,” said Baykar’s chief technical official Selcuk Bayraktar.


Powered by a single Ukrainian-designed Ivchenko-Progress turbofan engine, the Kizilelma is planned to have a 1,500-kilogram payload capacity. It will be capable of conducting air-to-ground and air-to-air missions.

The drone is expected to be carrier-capable and has thus been designed to land and take off on short runways. It should eventually operate from the TCG Anadolu amphibious assault ship, which is currently conducting cruise tests.

The new stealthy drone is an unmanned aircraft featuring a low-RCS supersonic airframe equipped with an AESA radar. The aircraft is powered by a turbofan engine fed by two air inlets; yaw control is achieved with two vertical stabilizers.

The aircraft has coupled-canard controls for increased maneuverability or better controlling the main wing airflow. Internal compartments will allow the aircraft to operate in contested environments while sustaining low observability.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.