March 18, 2023 marked another milestone in the history of Turkey's drone program as the country's aircraft manufacturing giant, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), released the first photos of the TAI Anka-3 which in the intentions of its designers should become the first true Turkish stealth UCAV designed according to the model of the so-called "flying wing", also known as "tuttala".
In the photos, which quickly spread online, it is possible to notice that the unmanned aircraft has two TAI ŞİMŞEK target drones docked, one under each of the two wings.
In reality, beyond the announcement, accompanied by relative photographs, TAI did not go further and no information relating to the aircraft's performance was leaked, if we exclude the indiscretion (absolutely unverifiable at present) that the aircraft remotely piloted should have a maximum take-off weight of about 7 tons fully loaded.
At the moment the characteristics, performance and operational use of the UCAV can only be deduced by observing it, especially noting its similarity with other projects such as the American Northrop Grumman X-47B, the Russian Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik-B, the European Dassault nEURon and the Chinese Hongdu GJ-11.
It can be hypothesized that the Anka-3, should it appear in operational use, would be used to carry out precision attacks against targets located deep in enemy territory, or missions of suppression and destruction of enemy anti-aircraft defenses (SEAD / DEAD).
In developing the TAI Anka-3, the giant of the Anatolian aeronautical sector has benefited from years of experience gained managing the development of other unmanned aircraft such as the TAI Anka-B, the TAI Anka-s and the TAI Anka-2/Aksungur in close collaboration with both the Armed Forces and the National Intelligence Organization (the country's intelligence services).
What will be the future development of the project, at this moment it is very difficult to say. In any case, given the difficulties encountered by the other major powers in developing similar means as well as the current problems that Turkey is going through, it is difficult to think that the TAI can achieve its objectives in the short term, even if with the Turks one must never say never .
Appointment then to the second part of the year when the TAI Anka-3 should make its first test flight.
Photo: Turkish Aerospace Industries