Türkiye’s first indigenous unmanned fighter aircraft Bayraktar Kızılelma, developed by Baykar Technologies, has completed its test take-off in a video shared by Selçuk Bayraktar, the company’s chief technology officer.
«We couldn’t hold it on the ground any longer! Thank God», Bayraktar tweeted, sharing the Kızılelma’s departure from the runway and the moment of its rise.
The drone was showcased at Teknofest, Türkiye’s largest aerospace and technology festival, in the northern province of Samsun, attracting great attention despite ongoing design and development efforts.
Kızılelma, whose engine integration test was carried out on September 19, successfully completed taxi and ground driving tests with safety ties first on November 20. Then, the first test runs without safety ties were directed by Bayraktar.
On December 3, the maiden flight test was carried out, announced by Bayraktar on Twitter, tweeting, «We are holding it hard… Bayraktar Kızılelma swept its feet off the ground. Almost there, I hope».
Kızılelma is planned to make a difference on the battlefield, especially with its «landing and take-off capability on ships with short runways».
Developed considering short-runway ships such as the TCG Anadolu, Türkiye’s first LHD-class vessel, the fighter jet will play an important role in overseas missions thanks to this feature. It will have a low radar signature thanks to its design.
Kızılelma will be able to carry 1,500 kilograms/3,307 lbs. of payload (weapons and devices, etc.). Its flight range is 930 kilometers/558 miles/502 NM, while the operating altitude was declared as 10,668 meters/35,000 feet. It can operate in the air for five hours and has a maximum speed of 900 km/h/559 mph/486 knots.
It will be equipped with the locally made Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
The first flight of Kızılelma is expected to take place in 2023, according to Bayraktar.
The Turkish drones got worldwide fame amid the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War that broke out on September 27, 2020, between Armenia and Azerbaijan when Türkiye, a rising drone power in the international arena, supplied its ally Azerbaijan with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for use in the conflict and significantly contributed to Azerbaijan’s victory.