Turkey’s first national MALE-class (medium altitude long endurance) unmanned aerial vehicle, dubbed “Anka” after an Anatolian bird, made its maiden flight without much of a publicity just before the New Year’s Day, TRDEFENCE sources reported on Sunday.
Anka is vastly superior to its competition (such as the Heron of Israeli origin) in the same category thanks to its heavier payload capacity, long flight time of 24 hours, higher flight ceiling and state-of-the-art electrooptical instruments that include Aselsan’s next-generation AselFLIR 300T, laser target designator and an indigenously developed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can detect, identify and track targets day and night, beyond thick layers of cloud, dust and smoke.
Anka also carries on-board artificial intelligence that enables the aircraft to fly autonomously without the requirement for remote human assistance, find allied airbases in the event of an emergency and land automatically.
An armed version of the aircraft, codenamed Anka-B, is currently under development in Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with further funding from Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, SSM. Reports indicate that Anka-B’s modular weapons architecture will be able to carry Roketsan-developed Cirit laser guided rockets, UMTAS anti-tank missiles and/or other compatible weapon systems depending on the assigned mission.
Anka features low radar observatibility courtesy of its thin profile, carbon composite structures that minimize the usage of highly reflective metal components as well as its aerodynamically efficient design.
The first Anka is expected to be commissioned by TurAF in 2011 with the armed Anka-B following it up in 2013.