Stealth UAV Kızılelma will replace the F-35B fighter on the Turkish aircraft carrier, it is expected to repeat the success of the famous TB2 or Akinci.
Turkish manufacturer Bayraktar announced that its first indigenous unmanned fighter aircraft Bayraktar Kızılelma, has passed the first test runs. This is a very positive signal that the program is on the right track.
Specifically, the drone was towed by a trailer to the take-off point. The test is reported as successful. Kızılelma’s avionics and various assets have been tested on the ground. Kızılelma is planned to make a difference on the battlefield especially with its “landing and take-off capability on ships with short runways,” such as the TCG Anadolu, Türkiye’s first LHD-class vessel. The fighter jet will play an important role in overseas missions. It will have a low radar signature thanks to its design.
According to Turkish media, this weekend, or early December 2022, the first flight of Kızılelma will become a reality. At the beginning of the year, the Bayraktar company announced the existence of the Kızılelma UAV by presenting a prototype. A few months later, they “revealed” the second one. If the tests are successful in the coming months, mass production is expected to begin in mid-2023.
The Kızılelma is designed to be a combat vehicle that can land and take off from short runways. This makes it extremely suitable not only for the Air Force but also for the Turkish Navy. In the future, it is likely that Kızılelma will serve on the TCG Anadolu aircraft carrier, which is also undergoing testing for early delivery in 2023.
The Kızılelma featuring a low-RCS supersonic airframe and equipped with an AESA radar. The aircraft is powered by a turbofan engine, fed by two air inlets; yaw control is achieved with two vertical stabilizers. The aircraft has coupled-canard controls for increased maneuverability, or for better controlling the main wing airflow. Internal compartments will allow the aircraft to operate in contested environments while sustaining low observability.
Kızılelma will be able to carry 1,500 kilograms of payload. Its flight range is 930 kilometers, while the operating altitude was declared as 10,668 meters. It can operate in the air for five hours and has a maximum speed of 900 km/h. Unlike unmanned aerial vehicles, Kızılelma will also provide effectiveness against air targets with domestic air-to-air munitions. With these abilities, it will change the balance on the battlefield. Turkey is not involved in the Ukraine conflict, but its troops are fighting in Syria and Iraq, and it is very likely that the Kızılelma UAV will be tested in real combat conditions. In the near future, the Bayraktar company also has ambitions to produce a supersonic version of the Kızılelma stealth unmanned combat aircraft, and upgrade it to the 6th generation fighter standard.