Final Delivery of Polish Bayraktar TB2 Drones Completed

Polish Bayraktar
Unmanned combat drone Bayraktar TB2 of Polish Air Force at NATO Days 2023 in Mošnov (Image credit: Wiki)

Poland now operates all of its new TB2 drones previously ordered from Turkey. Polish MOD studying the possibility of establishing a new branch of the Polish Armed Forces named “Unmanned Forces”.

On May 16, 2024, a ceremony at the 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Base in Mirosławiec marked the completion of deliveries of the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned reconnaissance and strike system to the Polish Air Force. The ceremony, which celebrated the delivery of the final, fourth set of the system, was attended by the State Secretary in the Ministry of National Defense, Paweł Bejda.

Bejda said: The Bayraktars would be operated in the skies above the whole territory of Poland. They are fitted with antennas and radars that make these UAVs capable of operating, out of Mirosławiec, and flying in Polish airspace.

He also emphasized the fact that the TB2 offers a flight endurance of 22 hours.

A single set of Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, in its Polish configuration, is made out of 6 TB2 UAVs, three ground control stations EO/IR sensors, weapons, and spares.

The Polish MoD, back in May 2021, procured 4 Bayraktar TB2 UCAV sets. The procurement, worth USD 270 million, also included equipment, weapons, and simulators, as well as training and logistics packages. Notably, the procurement of these drones was justified by the emergence of an urgent operational requirement, hence the whole acquisition is viewed as separate from the long-term modernization programmes that the Polish Armed Forces pursue.

The prime contractor – the Turkish Baykar Makina company – completed the deliveries of the forest three TB2 sets in the fall of 2022, spring of 2023, and fall of 2023 respectively. Baykar Makina also conducted training for Polish instructors and operators from the 12th UAV Base in Mirosławiec and the Air Force Aviation and Engineering Training Center in Dęblin.

Additionally, Turkey is set to transfer technology necessary to establish depot-level maintenance capabilities within the structures of the Polish Armed Forces. This includes maintenance and repair capabilities for engines, ground control stations, and EO/IR sensors.

Bayraktars have gained a significant reputation during the first phase of full-scale war in Ukraine that has been ongoing since 2022. However, in a combat environment saturated with air defences, their capabilities are quite limited.

Bayraktar TB2 is a tactical strike and reconnaissance, ISR/combat-capable UAV. It utilizes laser-guided munitions (named MAM-L and MAM-C), that are carried under four hardpoints. The Polish Bayraktar drones also allow the user to utilize Osprey AESA radar, and they have been fitted with relevant IFF transponders. The drone is capable of conducting the sorties autonomously, from taxing until landing. It offers up to 27 hours of endurance.

Notably, Deputy Minister of Defense Paweł Bejda, during the ceremony in Mirosławiec, noted that the Ministry is studying the possibility of establishing a new branch of the Polish Armed Forces, focused on operating solely the unmanned systems, named “Unmanned Forces” – which may be becoming a new development trend in the Armed Forces around the world.

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.