By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
It is not often that a weapon system is proving so popular that countries are waiting in line to buy it. Ironically, this appears to be the current situation with the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV). Already in service with or on order by 25 countries other than Türkiye, the TB2's commercial success currently looks to be without bounds. With new export agreements being signed with more countries to this day, there is little doubt that the Bayraktar TB2 will go down in history as world's most successful UCAV both in terms of export clients and numbers sold. In this capacity it is now consistently beating its main two competitors on the drone market of China and Israel, whose products though more attractive than expensive (and exclusive) Western wares or underperforming and politically-laden Iranian ones have shown their own deficiencies. The TB2's success should come as little surprise to those that examined the system in combat, as the TB2 is arguably the first UCAV that manages to combine reliability and affordability with devastatingly effective results on the battlefield: a capability keenly looked for in the 21st century.
Bayraktar TB2 = 25
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper = 8
CAIG Wing Loong I = 7
CAIG Wing Loong II = 5
Bayraktar Akıncı = 5
CASC Rainbow CH-4 = 4 (6 when including countries that formerly operated the type)
CASC Rainbow CH-3 = 4
TAI Anka =3
Mohajer-6 = 2 (3 when including Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces)
General Atomics MQ-1 Predator = 1
Lentatek Karayel = 1
CASC Rainbow CH-92A = 1
CASIC WJ-600A/D = 1
Although best well for developing the TB2, Baykar Tech produces several more types of UAVs that have found success on the international market. Two of these, the Bayraktar Mini UAV and Bayraktar Akıncı, have meanwhile both entered service with four countries. The novel features of the Bayraktar Kızılelma also positions the system to one day become an export success.
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