Experienced UAV Anka-3 after leaving the assembly shop
Turkish State Aerospace Company Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş. (TUSAŞ) or Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) continues work on advanced unmanned aerial vehicles. Thus, the assembly of the first experimental heavy-class UAV Anka-3 has recently been completed. It has already been rolled out of the shop and shown to the public. In the near future drone it will have to undergo ground tests, after which it will be lifted into the air for the first time.
According to known data, the development of another heavy-class UAV from the Anka (“Phoenix”) series began just over a year ago, in February 2022. At the same time, the Anka-3 project was kept secret for several months. Its existence was officially announced only in mid-December 2022.
The Anka-3 project was first mentioned by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay during budget discussions for the next 2023. He noted that the coming year will be an important milestone in stories Turkish aviation industry. In particular, the appearance of another heavy UAV was expected, which will be able to bring the capabilities of unmanned aircraft to a new level.
At the end of December, it became known that TAI was already building the first experimental drone of the new model. It was planned to be completed over the next few weeks, in January 2023. Preliminary checks at the factory were scheduled for February-March, after which the roll-out of the UAV was to take place. Also in the spring, after the following checks, the start of flight tests was expected.
In December, the first images of a promising UAV were also published. The product was shown in a parking configuration with suspended weapons. On four pylons under the wing there was one bomb each.
On March 18, 2023, TAI held two important events at once. Thus, the first flight of the promising training aircraft Hürjet took place. In addition, the first experimental Anka-3 UAV was rolled out of the workshop. Soon, the press service of the developer organization published the first photo of the drone outside the workshop.
Previously posted drone image. Some differences from the prototype are noticeable
According to the latest news, test runs of the engine and the remaining checks on the ground will take place in the near future. During April, the first flight is expected, followed by full-scale flight tests. How long they will last is yet to be announced. Accordingly, the possible timing of the launch of mass production and the receipt of equipment by the troops remain unknown.
Features and capabilities
The new Turkish UAV Anka-3 formally belongs to the already known family of vehicles. However, both externally and in its design, this product is seriously different from previous drones, which indicates its development from scratch and without using some of the ready-made developments and solutions. Due to this approach, it was possible to obtain new opportunities and advantages over other Phoenixes.
The heavy UAV Anka-3 is built according to the "flying wing" scheme. The airframe has a rudimentary fuselage that protrudes slightly beyond the swept wing. The drone received a characteristic air intake on the upper surface. Above there are several more windows of small size. A turbojet engine of an unknown model is placed in the tail. It is alleged that the chosen appearance of the airframe reduces visibility for radar facilities.
The drone must carry a set of electronics for various purposes. First of all, it is an autopilot and related means for flight control. We also need a communication system for information exchange and aerobatics. It is reported about the ability of the UAV to carry radar or other systems to solve specific problems. The published photos show that there is a certain panel on top of the fuselage that differs from other surfaces. Probably, under such a cover are communications or other electronics.
The operating modes of the control systems are unknown. Apparently, Anka-3 can fly and solve tasks under the full control of the operator at the command post. Routine tasks, such as flying a simple program, must be performed independently.
The UAV is capable of carrying various types of payload; it is placed inside the airframe and outside. So, in the first images of Phoenix-3, under the fuselage, the doors of the two central compartments of equipment or weapons are visible. Older photos show the presence of four underwing pylons with the possibility of hanging a small caliber bomb. The picture of the UAV after rolling out allows us to confidently speak of only two underwing points, although it does not exclude the presence of a second pair.
In the first photos, the drone was shown with four small-caliber guided bombs. During the rollout under the wing of the prototype, there were rockets or outboard tanks of a similar shape. It is reported about the possibility of installing various types of reconnaissance systems on the device. It will be able to carry an optical-electronic station, a compact radar or electronic intelligence equipment. However, the exact nomenclature of compatible weapons and devices has not yet been disclosed.
The overall and weight parameters of the Turkish UAV remain unknown. It is clear that the Anka-3 is quite large and in this respect is not inferior to some manned fighters. In terms of mass, the product should also resemble light fighters.
Flight performance has not yet been disclosed. Judging by the scheme used, "Phoenix-3" is subsonic, but can reach high speeds. The "flying wing" should also improve efficiency and range. However, Turkish sources report that such an architecture was applied mainly to reduce visibility.
On the eve of the test
Thus, in just over a year, the Turkish aircraft manufacturer TAI / TUSAŞ has developed, built and brought its next heavy-duty unmanned aerial vehicle to preliminary tests. Already in the coming weeks, it is planned to complete checks on the ground and begin flight tests, which will determine the future fate of this development.
Turkish officials have repeatedly stated that the TAI Anka-3 project is of great importance for both the development company and the Turkish Air Force. Indeed, to create this sample, TAI had to work out new technical solutions and master the necessary technologies. The result of this should be a UAV that is seriously different from its predecessors - and of particular interest to the Turkish Air Force.
Unlike previous heavy UAVs from TAI, the new Anka-3 has been designed to reduce visibility and improve flight performance. Measures of this kind have been somewhat successful, tests must show. Declared the possibility of installing various systems and devices, which will also be confirmed in the near future. You should also pay attention to the possible options for combat load. Due to its relatively large size and weight, the new Phoenix will be able to carry more weapons.
In general, the promising Anka-3 UAV will have to surpass the previous developments of the same name in terms of the combination of characteristics and capabilities. At the same time, the difference in characteristics may be such that the Phoenix-3 will not replace older UAVs, but will complement them. Several unmanned systems will be able to compose a system with a wide range of capabilities, functions and characteristics. In its composition, each drone will solve its own range of tasks, complementing other samples.
However, so far we are only talking about plans and expectations. The promising product Anka-3 has not yet taken to the air and it has only to confirm its characteristics and capabilities. Whether it will be possible to carry out all the necessary tests within the specified time frame and obtain the desired results, the near future will show.