Turkey sinks ship in mock sea drone swarm attack

Turkey sinks ship in mock sea drone swarm attack
Still from video posted on social media shows moment second before the sea drone armed with a warhead smashed into the target ship. / Turkish presidency
By bne IntelIiNews October 23, 2023

Turkish defence companies Aselsan and Roketsan successfully sank a ship in a mock attack mounted with a swarm of eight unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and a Bayraktar TB2 aerial combat drone that provided targeting.

During the exercise in Mediterranean waters off Mersin, reported by The Defense Post, the TB2 detected the 22-metre long (72-foot) target ship and relayed the location to Albatros-S sea drones. One USV, fitted with a warhead, then smashed into the target, which reportedly sank minutes after impact.

Aselsan is the USV manufacturer, while Roketsan has created warheads for the drones.

Aselsan’s sea drone work includes the development of unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUVs, and an Albatros-S variant, named “Albatros Kamikaze”. The company plans to equip this with a 200-kilogram warhead.

The Turkish military has a Swarm USV programme. It is configured to conduct drone swarm formation attacks not only with Albatros-S models but also with other future Turkish USVs.

Aselsan ranks among the world’s top 100 defence firms. The Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, TSKGV, owns 74.2% of the company, with 25.8% traded on the stock exchange.

Pre-eminent among Turkish defence firms that produce aerial attack drones is Baykar.

Baykar, run by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar—whom some Turkey watchers see as the likely successor to Erdogan—during the summer struck what is thought to be the biggest defence and aviation contract in Turkey’s history. Under the multi-billion-dollar agreement, Saudi Arabia will purchase Bayraktar drones and obtain technology transfer and joint production cooperation.

Baykar said in July that three-quarters of its revenues have stemmed from exports since it started drone research and development in 2003. Last year, its exports added up to $1.18bn, with turnover of $1.4bn. The company added that it had so far signed export agreements with 30 countries for the Bayraktar TB2 combat drone and with six countries for the larger Bayraktar Akinci combat drone.