The Turkish Ministry of National Defence has revealed that three Akinci UCAVs entered the inventory on August 2-3. This brings the total number in the Turkish Air Force inventory to at least nine.
The footage appears to show the Akinci-B, a more powerful model with two 750 hp engines. These are the first Akinci-Bs to enter the inventory. An even more powerful variant, with two 950 hp engines will be introduced further down the track.
Unlike the famed TB2, the Akinci has much bigger targets in mind. The Akinci is capable of carrying large bombs such as precision-guided variants of Mk-84, Mk-83 and Mk-82s, including SARB-83 and NEB-84 bunker busters. Furthermore, it is the first drone configured to launch cruise missiles. This essentially means that it is the first drone that poses a serious threat to naval ships. Akinci’s heavy attack capabilities mean that F-16 strikes will no longer be necessary for Turkey’s fight against PKK terrorism. It also means that Azerbaijan will not need to risk its SU-25s if fighting breaks out again, as Akinci drones can target bunkers which TB2s can’t.
Baykar has two more major UCAV projects already in the pipeline. The TB3, which often goes under the radar, will be a carrier-capable evolution of the TB2, with a higher payload and collapsable wings. It is overshadowed by the Kizilelma (golden apple in Old Turkic). The Kizilelma is a carrier-capable, high-subsonic/supersonic, highly maneuverable, low-observable UCAV that is being built from the ground up to be a capable air-to-air fighter. The Kizilelma, will not only propel the Turkish Air Force into the 5th gen fighter realm, but it will be the first drone of its type in the entire world.