Turkmenistan Showcases Newly Acquired Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAVs at Military Parade

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 27, 2023 - In a grand display of military prowess, Turkmenistan showcased its newly acquired Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Türkiye during a military parade in Ashgabat. The event, held in honor of the 32nd anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence, highlighted the strengthening of defense ties between Turkmenistan and Turkey.
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The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) were displayed during the military parade in Turkmenistan. (Picture source Russian Social Network)

The Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, known for their advanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, have been a significant addition to the military arsenals of several countries in recent years. Their presence in the parade underscores Turkmenistan's commitment to modernizing its defense capabilities and its strategic partnership with Türkiye.

The parade, attended by high-ranking officials and thousands of spectators, celebrated the nation's journey and achievements since gaining independence. The demonstration of the Bayraktar TB2 UAVs was one of the many highlights, signaling a new era in Turkmenistan's defense strategy.

It remains to be seen how this acquisition will influence the regional dynamics and what it signifies for future collaborations between Turkmenistan and Turkey.

The Bayraktar TB2 drones, manufactured by Turkey, have been a significant asset in Ukraine's arsenal during the ongoing conflict. At the beginning of the war, Ukraine deployed these drones extensively, and they were seen as a pivotal tool in modern warfare, especially after the challenges Ukraine faced after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. Numerous reports highlighted the drones targeting Russian tanks, armor, and patrol boats. There was even a surge in their popularity to the extent that a propaganda song was made in their honor.

However, by May 2023, many of these drones had been neutralized. Those that remained were primarily used for reconnaissance. One of the primary reasons for this shift was the drone's vulnerability to sophisticated air and electronic warfare defenses. As these drones fly relatively slow and low, they became easy targets for well-organized air defense systems. This vulnerability was evident in other conflicts as well, such as in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia, recognizing the threat posed by these drones, quickly enhanced its air and electronic defenses at the war's outset. After adapting to the early successes of Ukraine, the Russian military became proficient at jamming and subsequently destroying many of Ukraine's drones. Samuel Bendett, an expert in unmanned and robotic military systems, noted that once the Russian military strategized effectively, they managed to down many TB2s.

Despite these setbacks, recent reports suggest a resurgence in the use of the Bayraktar TB2 drones by Ukraine. Video footage shared by Ukraine's Navy in September 2023 showed a Bayraktar TB2 drone destroying a Russian KS-701 patrol boat in the Black Sea. This incident, among others, indicates that the drones are back in action and are once again inflicting significant damage on Russian targets. The revival of the TB2 Bayraktar sorties is believed to be due to Ukraine's efforts in degrading Russia's air defense systems over the months, allowing these drones to operate more effectively.

The Bayraktar TB2 drones, with an operational altitude of 18,000 feet and the capability to fly for up to 27 hours, can be equipped with four laser-guided smart munitions. As of the latest data, 257 Bayraktar drones are in operation across various countries, including Turkey, Qatar, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan.

Defense News September 2023