A year after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, most of Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 attack drones have been shot down by the Russian military, writes Business Insider. At the same time, at the start of the conflict, it was on these drones that Ukraine relied as a “weapon of victory”.
According to the publication, since February 2022, Ukraine has received 50 Bayraktar TB2s, but by the end of 2022 these drones had practically ceased to appear in the conflict zone. Now, according to Samuel Bendett, an expert in unmanned military systems and robotics at the Naval Analysis Center, the Ukrainian military is using the remaining TB2s for surveillance and reconnaissance, not as attack drones.
Alexander Ermakov, a researcher at IMEMO RAS and an expert from the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), agreed that the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 could have been shot down by the majority Russian armed forces, given that the conflict has been going on for more than a year.
“Bayraktar was largely delivered either initially or within the first few months. Lately, it’s not like we often hear about big deliveries. Purely due to natural attrition at the front, moreover, both sides are heavily saturated with air defense systems, and both sides have increasing skill in countering drones – naturally, most of those who were at the beginning of the conflict were shot, or they just try not to approach dangerous areas, “- said Ermakov.
Expert in the field of drones, the editor of Unmanned Aviation magazine, Denis Fedutinov, pointed out in a conversation with Russian media that neither the number of Bayraktar TB2s actually delivered to Ukraine, nor the number of disabled systems are known for certain.
“As for the first, the delivery took place in several stages, and even in the period before the start of the NWO, the quantitative data from various sources differed. In addition, additional deliveries have taken place, including at the expense of funds raised in other countries,” he pointed out.
At the same time, in April 2023, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant General Andrey Demin said that since the beginning of hostilities, the Russian army has destroyed more than a hundred Bayraktar drones.
“As for the losses of the Bayraktar TB2 drone by the Ukrainian side, they are partly known thanks to photographs of downed drones. However, not all drones are lost. We should not forget that the Russian Armed Forces also carried out airfield strikes, and it is certain that at least some of the remaining drones were disabled,” Fedutinov added.
Nevertheless, part of the TB2 can still remain in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine – both surviving and repaired. The expert did not rule out that Western countries could secretly supply drones to Kyiv.
Fedutinov also noted that the conflict in Ukraine showed the low effectiveness of the Bayraktar TB2.
“The Ukrainian theater of operations is not Syria or Libya. In general, Bayraktar here only at the initial stage showed some kind of ability, but then the Russian side mastered the means of dealing with these drones, and they began to look very pale, and then the Ukrainian armed forces practically completely stopped use these drones, realizing that their service life at the front will be very short,” Fedutinov stressed in a conversation with Russian media.
Oleksandr Ermakov agreed that at first Turkish drones were very actively used by Kiev and suffered serious losses, and now the remaining TB2s are most likely used more cautiously. At the same time, the hype around them, according to the expert, is mainly due to the “talented media campaign of the builders”,
“Because of this, from the very beginning of the conflict over a simple and cheap” workhorse “, a basic drone, a completely unjustified halo was formed, because they promoted it very well during the war of Nagorno-Karabakh and in Libya it was used , therefore, because of this, it made a big deal that it was a “weapon of victory”, agreed Alexander Ermakov.
In fact, according to Ermakov, Batraktar TB2 is a drone that suffers heavy losses when colliding with a highly developed enemy with a large number of air defense systems.
“In a sense, it is a consumable of war. In the same way, for example, domestic Russian Orlans, of course, also suffer heavy losses, it’s just that there were probably more of them initially and they don’t have a super weapon halo. If Bayraktar is soberly rated, he continues to fulfill his tasks to some extent, it’s just that it’s not the “weapon of victory” with which he was initially liquidated,” Yermakov is sure of that.
Denis Fedutinov added that, according to his assumptions, the Ukrainian armed forces can “save Bayraktar TB2 for a special occasion”. “Firstly, they can be used in current conditions, when the value of hitting a specific target exceeds the cost of a drone. Secondly, they can be saved in case the Ukrainian side manages to neutralize or weaken the air defense of the Russian troops on certain sectors of the front,” he concluded.
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