Ukraine is continuing to supply engines for the Bayraktar Kizilelma, Turkey’s upcoming stealth drone. The drone has been marketed by Baykar as an “unmanned fighter jet”.
Despite the war, cooperation between the two countries has continued, Baykar’ CTO Selcuk Bayraktar said at the Teknofest 2022 expo, according to Defenseturk.net.
A prototype of the aircraft was unveiled at the expo, with Baykar claiming that the maiden flight will take place in 2023.
The Kizilelma was first announced in July 2021. Baykar signed a contract with Ukraine’s Ivchenko-Progress in November 2021 for the delivery of AI-322F and AI-25TLT engines.
According to Baykar, the engines will give the drone characteristics on par with manned fighter jets of the latest generations, allowing it to conduct both air-to-ground and air-to-air missions.
Baykar also claims the Kizilelma will have the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 6 metric tons (12,228 pounds), the payload capacity of 1.5 metric tons (3000 pounds) and a range of 926 kilometers (500 nautical miles).
Such characteristics are far below even the lightest combat aircraft, such as the KAI FA-50 Strike Eagle and Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master. However, they make the Kizilelma broadly similar to several Loyal Wingman designs, such as the Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie and the Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat.
According to Baykar, Kizilelma will also be supersonic and have good maneuvering characteristics. Furthermore, it is intended to have a short take-off and landing capability and operate from aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, such as Turkey’s upcoming TCG Anadolu.