Turkish Loyal Wingman ANKA-3 Counts Down for Maiden Flight
Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) spoke to the state-run news agency Anadolu about the features of ANKA-3. The flying wing was developed at facilities and will be the third member of the company’s UAV product family. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Engineering Director Bülent Korkem said that ANKA-3 is a tailless configuration with new advantages.
Korkem said, “It has a low radar cross-section because the aircraft does not have horizontal and vertical tails. The drag coefficient is reduced in this configuration. We can create more volume and capacity for capacity in the interior weapon bay.
About a year ago, we created the infrastructure by flying a smaller tailless model, and we started to develop such an aircraft on which we would use these advantages. Development studies began in February 2022.
Today the aircraft is now taxi tests. This process will continue until the maiden flight takes place quickly. Then a new process will begin where the mission systems are integrated and prepared for final configuration. Currently, the first target is the maiden flight. The planned date is very close. It might be at the beginning of May or before mid-May.”
Answering the questions regarding the operational use of ANKA-3, Bülent Korkem stated that the aircraft has a considered payload capacity at high altitudes. The UCAV can reach 44 000 feet altimeter and operate at 40 000 feet.
Pointing out that the aircraft will fly at Mach 0.7, Korkem said, “The low radar visibility feature provides a high payload capacity, the ability to operate at high speeds and reach long distances. Therefore, we have a heavy payload capacity. We can use this capability for air-to-ground, air-to-air attack purposes or SEAD missions by electronic systems and payloads we will mount on UCAV. We can use ANKA-3 for manned-unmanned teaming aiming for joint operations with the Turkish Fighter Aircraft, HURJET, and F-16.
ANKA-3 and manned aircraft will share a joint weapon arsenal and will provide interoperability thanks to communication bridges. Therefore, this aircraft has an extensive area of usage.
We want to perform our maiden flight soon. We think the UCAV would be ready for the first mission by the end of the year or at the beginning of next year.”
In response to the question about ANKA-3’s offensive capability, Korkem explained that there would have seven weapon stations on the UCAV. One is under the fuselage, two are inside the fuselage as an interior bay, and two others are under the wing pylons.
Noting that weapon stations have different capacities, Korkem said:
“The capabilities of the interior bay will be extensive. We have a significant volume there, thanks to the configuration. In this system, we can carry all the ammunition developed in Turkiye so far. Each inner bay is capable of arming with Mark 83 class ammunition. The underwing can again carry Mark 83 class ammunition, SOM-J. So, our weapon range is extensive in terms of payload.”
Korkem’s words underline that ANKA-3 can perform as Loyal Wingman that supports manned aircraft’s missions. As it can carry Som-J, the UCAV will hit the targets without even being a target. As it can carry Mk-83 type bombs, TUBİTAK-SAGE’s SARB-83 and SERT-82 Penetrator Bombs against the surface and underground targets such as Munitions Depots, Underground Petrochemical Depots, Bunkers, Aircraft Shelters, Command and Control Centres. The UCAV will be able to carry also electronic systems for SEAD missions.