Turkey clones Iran’s ‘kamikaze’ drones

Turkey clones Iran’s ‘kamikaze’ drones
The Azab very much resembles Iran's Shahed-136. / Robit Technology.
By bne IntelIiNews March 28, 2023

Turkey has cloned the Iranian “kamikaze” drones used by Russia to attack Ukraine, according to military analysts cited by The Defense Post.

They have labelled Turkey’s newly unveiled kamikaze drone, or loitering munition, a “replica” of Iran’s Shahed-136. When photos of the Azab delta-winged drone were released, analysts noted similarities with the Iranian platform, including the shape and size.

Iran’s Shahed-136 kamikaze drones are still regularly launched by Russia at Ukraine (Credit: Iranian defence ministry).

However, reported the trade journal, the Iranian suicide drone has some different specifications. For instance, the Shahed carries a much heavier, more powerful warhead than the Azab. At 1,000 kilometres (621 miles), it also has double the maximum range as its new Turkish rival.

Azab manufacturer Robit Technology said the unmanned platform can accommodate different types of warheads and is made in two versions, namely with either a two-metre (6.5-feet) or 1.5-metre (4.9-feet) wingspan.

The Azab can be operated using GPS coordinates to reach and destroy a target or with military personnel directing it toward the enemy asset using high-performance cameras.

The drone has already completed flight tests. It is set to undergo ammunition trials later this year.

Turkey has made a name for itself on the international arms market with the Bayraktar TB-2 drone, made by Baykar Technologies, which has been deployed in conflicts including those over Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and Libya, as well as in the ongoing Ukraine war by Ukrainian forces.

Baykar Technologies, meanwhile, has unveiled its new Bayraktar TB-3 drone, which can be launched from naval vessels.

Company chief executive Selcuk Bayraktar shared photos of the unmanned system, with foldable wings, on social media, revealing that it remained on the production line pending a first flight.

There are plans for the TB-3 to operate alongside the “unmanned fighter jet” Bayraktar Kizilelma, still under development.

The Turkish Navy aims to deploy the TB-3 on its TCG Anadolu amphibious assault ship. The TCG Anadolu is being converted into a “drone carrier”, which looks something like a mini aircraft carrier.