Ankara-based Turkish Aerospace Industries rolled out a new tactical medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV last Friday. Named Anka, the UAV has been developed to answer the Turkish armed forces’ TIHA (tactical UAV) requirement, but is also to be offered for export.
The Anka has a 3,300-pound maximum takeoff weight, 1,100 pounds of which are fuel and 440 pounds are payload, although the latter can be increased at the expense of the other. It has a 24-hour maximum endurance and service ceiling of 30,000 feet, and features retractable undercarriage. The UAV includes an IMS-supplied ice protection system, and is powered, at least in prototype form, by a 155-hp Thielert heavy fuel engine. Alternative powerplants are an option, and Turkish Engine Industries may become involved.
A complete Anka system comprises three air vehicles, radar-based (with differential GPS backup) automatic takeoff and landing system, a ground data terminal, transportable image exploitation station, ground control station and power generator. There is also a portable video terminal capability to allow soldiers to receive streamed imagery in the field. The GCS is accommodated in a standard NATO ACE III shelter, and has two switchable operator consoles.
TAI (Hall 3 Stand C4) has developed a dual-redundant, high-rate datalink, the antenna for which is mounted under the rear fuselage. This gives a 200-kilometer line of sight range, but that could be extended through re-broadcast stations. The current requirement does not call for satellite communications, but the vehicle has been designed to incorporate a satcom antenna in the forward upper fuselage if required.
The TIHA program began with a development contract in December 2004. The UAV underwent its critical design review in June 2009, and the prototype was rolled out just over a year later. TAI is planning to fly the vehicle for the first time in October, and it is on course to achieve IOC with Aselsan’s AselFlir 300T EO/IR (electro- optical/infrared payload) in September next year. Full operational capability, which adds an Aselsan synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator/moving target indicator radar, is expected in December 2012.