The Bayraktar Kizilelma combat drone completed autonomous taxi and takeoff run tests ahead of its first flight. The drone has been marketed by its manufacturer Baykar as an “unmanned fighter jet.”
The trials took place on November 20, 2022, at the Akinci Flight Training and Test Center in Corlu, northwestern Turkey. Upon completion, the tests were deemed successful.
“Our goal was to run at slightly slower speeds in the first takeoff roll test, but we exceeded that limit,” Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s chairman of the board and chief technology officer, explained in a video. “Kizilelma completed the first autonomous taxi and takeoff roll test without any problems.”
First announced in July 2021, the Kizilelma is being developed as a stealthy unmanned combat aircraft with characteristics similar to manner fighter jets. With a maximum take-off weight of 6 tons, the drone is planned to have a 1,500-kilogram payload capacity. It will be capable of conducting air-to-ground and air-to-air missions.
The drone is expected to be carrier-capable and has thus been designed to land and take off on short runways. It should eventually operate from the TCG Anadolu amphibious assault ship, which is currently conducting cruise tests.
The TCG Anadolu was initially expected to carry US-made F-35B fighters before Turkey’s exclusion from the Joint Strike Fighter program for acquiring Russian S-400 missile systems.