Kizilelma ‘Red Apple’: Turkey’s first supersonic jet-powered drone tests combat ready
Turkey's first jet-powered uncrewed aerial combat vehicle (UCAV), Kizilelma, "Red Apple," has completed its inaugural flight, as per the country's lead defense manufacturer.
The makers of this new combat ariel vehicle, Baykar (a Turkish defense company), posted the test results via social media on Wednesday.
Baykar, which gained worldwide popularity after assisting Ukraine in its war against Russia, Tweeted, "The first journey of Bayraktar #KIZILELMA that will leave a mark on our glorious history."
The video posted shows Kizilelma UCAV taking flight and landing at an airbase in the northwest Corlu region, 85 km west of the Turkish Financial capital, Istanbul.
Chief technology officer (CTO) Baykar, Selcuk Bayraktar, declared in the video that Kizilelma had successfully completed its maiden flight.
Flightradar, a Swedish internet-based service that shows real-time aircraft flight tracking information, confirmed unknown aircraft with a BYK07 call sign was spotted over Corlu Airport on Wednesday.
Kizilelma - Red Apple
Kizilelma, the prototype, was finished in May 2021. With a flight time of five hours and an operational altitude of 35,000 feet, the drone is highly maneuverable. According to Baykar, it can land and take off from ships with short runways.
The new jet-powered drones resemble fifth-generation fighter jets from the outside. It is said to be able to partake in air-to-air combat in addition to normal drone tasks.
"It doesn't mean it's completely invisible, the aircraft, named Kizilelma (red apple), is also visible on the cameras, but low detectability is an advantage," CTO Bayraktar explained during EKNOFEST, an Aviation, Space, and Technology Festival, held in Samsun, Turkey, in August.
Thanks to the new UCAV, the Turkish drones (Bayraktar series), which are already in service, will have a better speed and payload capacity; as per the company, the drones have played a significant role in the northern Iraq and Libya conflicts.
Twenty of these drones have already been transferred to the United Arab Emirates, while Malaysia and Indonesia have expressed interest in purchasing armed drones from Turkey.
In two years, Baykar hopes to finish building its sole production facility outside of Turkey, which will be in Ukraine, according to a Reuters report on Thursday.
Turkey after defense embargo
Turkey was previously sanctioned and removed from the U.S.'s F-35 program after entering into a defense agreement with Russia, similar to India, which has not faced any sanctions thus far.
"After it got removed from the F-35 fighter jet program, Turkey converted its vertical take-off aircraft carrier, which is still under construction into a drone carrier. The carrier will serve as a base for Kizilema and other drones in use by the Turkish military," said the Reuters report.
In 2017, Turkey became the first NATO member to purchase S-400 air defense systems from Moscow.
Turkey was the first NATO nation to buy S-400 air defense systems from Moscow in 2017. Turkey accepted the first of four missile batteries in July 2019 despite opposition from the U.S. and other NATO countries.
In response to foreign countries' embargoes on defense products, the CTO had earlier stated whether systems "will or will not come from abroad are not a problem for Türkiye."
Norman Wagner from the University of Delaware tells Interesting Engineering about the challenges of making extraterrestrial cement for off-space infrastructure.