Libya: Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 UAV seen at the GNA-held airbase

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial combat vehicle has been seen operating at the Mitiga International Airport currently under the control of the forces linked to the United Nations recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Recent UN reports indicate that the GNA is being supplied by Turkey, despite the UN embargo on Libya's ongoing civil war, it is suspected that at least 3 Bayraktar TB2 UCAV is being used over Tripoli by UN-recognized government.

Implying that a Turkish command and control task force was sent to back the GNA Islamist militias. The LNA militia commanded by Colonel Khalifa Haftar has confirmed to have destroyed one UAV in Mitiga airport. Video evidence shows at least one Bayraktar TB2 UCAV flying over Tripoli about to land at Mitiga's Military section.

The GNA is currently fighting to prevent the Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) from taking the Libya capital, Tripoli. GNA spokesman Mohanad Younes had told reporters earlier in May that Turkey and other countries would be delivering military and humanitarian assistance. He also revealed that Turkey wants to achieve “anything that is needed to stop the assault,” including military and civilian help.

The Bayraktar Tactical UAV is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class surveillance and reconnaissance system initially developed for the Turkish Armed Forces, the UAV Platform has a blended wing body design with its inverse V-Tail structure.

The Bayraktar UAV System has a cruising speed of 70 knots with an operational flight altitude of 24.000 feet, 24 hours of flight time and a communication range of 150 km and has a 12-m wing span, 650-kg maximum take-off weight and a 55-kg payload capacity.

The Bayraktar TB2 employs the MAM and MAM-L ammunitions and UMTAS precision-guided missiles.

On February 12, 2018, The (SDF) Syrian Democratic Forces allegedly shot down a Turkish Bayraktar Tactical UAS that crashed near Quda, a small town in the Rajo district of Afrin near the Syria-Turkey border.

A similar class UAV, the Ghods Mohejer drone developed in the Islamic Republic of Iran has also been seen also operating in Libya. However, it is not yet known which faction operates the drone.

Darek Liam

Darek Liam is the North African editor for AMB, where he writes about the intersection of Technology and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as African Union correspondent.

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