Kizilelma MIUS - UCAV
Turkey’s drone magnate Baykar on 12 March 2022 announced it had reached a new phase in its unmanned combat aircraft project, unveiling that the first prototype has entered the production line. "A larger and more agile fish has entered the production line three and a half years later," Selçuk Bayraktar, the chief technology officer (CTO) at the drone maker, saidr. Bayraktar was referring to the period when Baykar started manufacturing its landmark combat drone Akinci, dubbed "the flying fish."
The National Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle System (MIUS - Muharip Insansiz Uçak Sistemi) has been named Kizilelma ("red apple"), Bayraktar said, referring to an expression in Turkish mythology that symbolizes goals, ideas or dreams that are far away, but are more attractive the further that distance may be.
The UAV MIUS itself has a rather long history: it began to be created in 2013, and the potential appearance of the model was changed in the process of research and development work. The glider has a tailless design, its appearance testifies to the use of stealth technology. This is supported by the fact that at least some of the weapons will be placed inside the fuselage.
The first prototype was earlier said to be expected to make its maiden flight in 2023, if not before. MUIS will be jet-powered and is expected to be capable of taking off from and landing on Turkey’s flagship-to-be amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu. The landing helicopter dock (LHD) type ship is said to be the first of its kind in the world as a vessel that allows the landing of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on its dock. It will be used in multipurpose operations and is set to be delivered this year.
Baykar is currently working on the Bayraktar TB3 UCAV, an upgraded version of the company’s famed Bayraktar TB2. MIUS and TB3 will both extend Turkey’s drone capabilities from land-based to naval operations as they will both be able to take off from TCG Anadolu. The Chief Technology Officer of Baykar Co., Selcuk Bayraktar confirmed 20 July 2021 that the MIUS will be operated on LHD Anadolu. “MIUS will operate at a cruising speed close to the speed of sound; the further prototypes will fly at the supersonic speed. It will have a payload of around 1500 kilograms. It will be able to deploy air-to-air, air-to-ground missiles and cruise missiles.”
“Unlike other prototypes developed in this field in the world, the most important aspect is that it can land and take off from carriers. MIUS will be able to land and take off from short-runway carriers like LHD Anadolu. It will be able to take off without the help of a catapult and land on the ship with a hook system.” Selcuk Bayraktar highlighted.
Signal delays inherent in UAVs are not critical when it comes to hitting stationary ground targets. However, they can play a cruel joke in modern air combat, which, as it is customary to assess these days, can be very dynamic and extremely short-lived.
However, it must be assumed that Baykar is seen as autonomous. In a video the company showed in 2021, it was reported that the design of MIUS has been optimized to perform the "aggressive maneuvers" required for aerial combat. The UAV will use artificial intelligence, which will enable it to work both as part of a swarm and within the framework of the concept of an unmanned follower, which is popular today. According to this, several drones will be able to work together with manned fighters, supporting them in battle.
The autonomously maneuvering MIUS will be capable of operating in tandem with piloted aircraft, and may carry air-to-air missiles, the company says. "With the 5th generation fighters, the world is witnessing the end of manned fighters. No new manned combat aircraft will be developed. Unmanned systems will increasingly become the strongest elements on the battlefield in the future," Bayraktar earlier said. "We are also trying to ensure our country’s presence in future competition," he added.
AI-controlled air combat no longer seems like something fantastic. Moreover, this approach will make it possible to get rid of the limitations of the human body when creating an aircraft. In addition, the loss of a drone by default is less sensitive than the loss of a manned aircraft. If only because it does not require the organization of a search and rescue mission.
The unmanned fighter jet is projected to conduct a multitude of military actions, such as strategic offensives, close air support (CAS), missile offensives, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD). Baykar in November 2021 signed a contract with Ivchenko-Progress, one of the leading Ukrainian companies for the procurement of engines for the MIUS. Ivchenko-Progress was projected to supply the AI-322F Turbofan engine for the jet under the agreement.
The aircraft is set to feature a high operational altitude and takeoff weight of 5,500 kilograms (12,125 pounds). It is envisaged to carry 1.5 tons of useful payload. It is projected to be capable of flying for five hours and reaching speeds of up to 800 kph (500 mph or Mach 0.64).
The UAV itself is single-engine, but there will be two types of engine. The fact is that they want to create the device in a subsonic version - MIUS-A and a supersonic version - MIUS-B. AI-25TLT is intended for the first: it will allow, according to experts, to reach speeds of up to 800 kilometers per hour. AI-322F will be installed on MIUS-B, thanks to which the device will be able to accelerate to supersonic speed.
Turkey has become the world's fourth biggest drone producer after the US, Israel and China. The Turkish government invested energy and resources in drone innovation after being snubbed by the US, which not only refused to sell attack drones to Ankara in 2010 and 2012, but also delayed the delivery of Patriot, a surface-to-air missile system, leading its NATO ally to purchase S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
Turkish drones are far cheaper and their transfer much smoother than US drones. Washington's Foreign Military Sales(FMS) program has made the transfer of drones subject to the cumbersome process of reviews and re-transfer assurances and congressional reviews.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|