Turkish Drone Draws Star, Crescent After Finding Iran President’s Chopper

Turkish Drone Draws Star, Crescent After Finding Iran President's Chopper

The drone was first seen near Makaou Iran, and was last spotted near Van in Turkey.

Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, the President of Iran, has died after the Bell 212 Helicopter, which he was onboard, crashed in the mountains of the Jofa region of East Azerbaijan. The Foreign Minister of Iran, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, was also onboard the crashed chopper.

The chopper navigated through dense fog and harsh weather and crashed in the mountains of Jofa a few minutes after taking off. The massive search operation was launched, with neighbouring states – Turkey, Iraq, and Azerbaijan offering help. The Turkish Bayraktar Akinci drone reportedly found the wreckage of the chopper in north Iran, close to its border with Azerbaijan.

The AKINCI01 – the call sign of the drone, detected heat signatures when it hovered over the crash site early this morning. The drone was first seen near Makaou Iran, and was last spotted near Van in Turkey, where it drew a crescent through its flight route, which was detected on its flight path by open-source flight tracking websites.

The Akinci drones fight path as per Flightradar24

The Akinci drone’s fight path as per Flightradar24

The Akinci Drones

The manufacturer of Akinci, Bayraktar, claims that the drone is capable of performing operations a fighter jet can carry out. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can be used for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations. It has an airtime of 24 hours and reaches up to an altitude of 40,000 feet. It has a navigation system with an internal sensor fusion, which can function without depending on GPS.

The Other Home-Built Drones

Bayraktar TB2, Turkey’s homegrown drone, is a medium-altitude tactical armed drone that has a maximum ceiling of 25,000 feet and can stay in the air for 27 hours. Bayraktar TB2 is also the first-ever aircraft in its category to be exported abroad.

It is operated by Qatar, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and 30 other countries. It has fully automatic navigation and route tracking, precision automatic take-off and landing supported by internal sensor fusion, fully automatic taxi and parking, support for semi-autonomous flight modes

Bayraktar TB3 is an armed unmanned aerial vehicle system, currently being developed indigenously by Baykar and capable of takeoff and landing on short runway aircraft carriers. Besides reconnaissance and intelligence missions, the Bayraktar TB3 can launch an assault operation with smart munitions stationed under its wings.

The Bayraktar TB2 drones were spotted in Ukraine’s armour in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The drones reportedly decimated Russian tanks and infantry in the early stages of the war but as the conflict progressed, the Russians focused on ways to counter drone threats and the use of TB2 slowly withered away.

Turkey’s relationship with the US and Russia is a curious case. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping to acquire the Russian S-400 missile defence system and US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, at the same time.

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