Photos and videos posted online show the crash of an Aksungur type MEAM (Unmanned Combat Aircraft) at a site in northern Iraq yesterday.
The aircraft (registration number “TCB883”) had been delivered by the manufacturer TAI in the summer of 2022 to the Air Force of the Turkish Navy.
There is currently no information on the loss of the MEAM, whether it is a mechanical failure or a crash.
Let us recall from an earlier publication of the printed “Flight” (No. 8, January 2021) that on 04-12-2020 TUSAS announced the start of production of Anka Aksungur or Anka-2, which first flew in March 2019 and is expected to enter service in 2021. Its development began 18 months before the first flight, around mid-2017. Two prototypes and one pre-production aircraft were built, with the program flight testing to continue in the interim and with reports of a flight in September 2020, when the UCAV flew 28 hours with a 12 MAM-L payload, having previously achieved air stays of 49 and 59 hours. The Aksungur is derived from adapting the fuselage of the original ANKA-S to a new wing that supports the two engines and two tail cantilevers with a dual tailplane arrangement. The UAV is 11.6 m long, 3 m high, 24 m spread, weight (MTOW) 3,300 kg, with a payload of 750 kg. The maximum flight height reaches 40,000 feet, while the maximum patrol time is 55 hours and the cruising speed is 110 knots. The patrol time for a SIGINT mission with a 150 kg payload reaches 24 hours at an altitude of 35,000 feet, while for a strike mission with a 750 kg payload it can fly 12 hours at an altitude of 25,000 feet.
It is designed for ISR, strike, naval cooperation, SIGINT/COMMINT and more. As a UCAV it will use a variety of weapons such as MAM-L, MAM-C, Cirit, UMTAS/L-UMTAS, Mk81/82/83 general purpose bombs, LGB TEBER-81/82 (converted Mk81/82), HGK-3 with INS/GPS system etc. The suspension is done externally on three carriers with the ability to transport 150, 300 or 500 kg. Aksungur will have AIS, triple INS/GPS navigation system and dual LOS/SATCOM communications systems.
Its operation is fully autonomous with ATOL capability and ‘return to home’ infrastructure. MEAM, although using an engine system from Anka in the tests, will have two TUSAS PD170 turbodiesels that we mentioned above. These are units weighing 165 kg and a maximum power of 170 hp, characterized by low consumption and very good performance at high altitudes. Specifically, at 40,000 feet it achieves a power of 90 hp. The existence of two engines ensures high reliability and survivability, which is essential for long-duration missions and for the valuable equipment carried by UAVs. The latter can include EO/IR/LD, radar, while very interesting is the proposal for the version of naval cooperation with ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) capability, which, among other things, will incorporate a MAD device and a spindle for the transport of 18 sonobuoys!