Baykar and the Kemankes: lethal allies
The missile christened Bayraktar Kemankes, was unveiled on April 27 at Istanbul’s Teknofest fair, attracting the attention of military aviation experts and enthusiasts worldwide.
Equipped with a jet engine, the Kemankes has an impressive range of 200 kilometers and an AI-based autopilot system. This combination allows for high accuracy and efficiency on the battlefield.
With a speed of Mach 0.7 and the ability to carry payloads of up to 30 kilograms, the Bayraktar Kemankes is poised to transform the landscape of unmanned aerial warfare.
Drones in the global market
Baykar had a successful 2022 with revenues of $1.4 billion, 99.3% of which was generated by exports. The TB2 combat drone has been sold to 28 countries and the Akinci to six countries, establishing itself as a benchmark in the sector.
The unit price for the Kemankes has not been publicly disclosed, but a company engineer, who preferred anonymity, told Defense News that the team has tried to keep the cost below $20,000 per unit.
This competitive price and the advanced capabilities of drones and cruise missiles could make Baykar a key player in the global defense market.
Cruise Missiles: A New Era
The launch of the Bayraktar Kemankes marks a milestone in the evolution of cruise missile and military drone technology. By combining the precision, range and power of cruise missiles with the versatility of drones, Baykar is setting new standards in the war industry.
With the widespread adoption of this booming technology, combat tactics and military strategy are likely to undergo significant changes in the coming years.
Long-range, precision strikes against land, sea, or air targets are the specialty of cruise missiles, which are unmanned, self-propelled, guided missiles. They differ from ballistic missiles, which travel at high altitudes against the force of gravity. On the other hand, cruise missiles are powered by jet or turbofan engines and travel at low altitudes.
Cruise missiles are extremely flexible, as they can be launched from airplanes, surface ships, submarines, or even ground-based launchers. Using a variety of onboard sensors, including radar, global positioning systems (GPS), and inertial navigation systems, they are capable of autonomous navigation thanks to their high-tech guidance systems. Some cruise missiles also have the ability to receive updates from the outside world while in midair.
Depending on the kind and model, the range of these missiles can be anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand kilometers. High explosives, submunition, incendiary, or even nuclear warheads are all viable options; however, non-nuclear warheads are more common.
There are a number of ways in which cruise missiles improve modern combat. Their low flight altitudes and high subsonic or supersonic speeds increase their ability to breach enemy air defenses. The accuracy of their guiding systems allows them to hit their targets with minimal collateral damage and maximum success in their missions.
These missiles have multiple potential uses in the military. They can strike ground bases, airfields, command centers, radar sites, ships, and even specific vehicles belonging to the enemy. Wars like the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the current battles in Syria and Yemen have all made use of cruise missiles.
Since cruise missiles have a low flight profile and unpredictable flight paths, they can be difficult to track and engage for defensive systems.
Interceptor missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and electronic warfare systems designed to disrupt cruise missile guidance systems are some examples of air defense systems that can be used as countermeasures.
Finally, cruise missiles are powerful and adaptable weapons that may be used for long-range strikes with pinpoint accuracy. Autonomous navigation, a low cruise altitude, and sophisticated guidance systems make these aircraft useful instruments for militaries looking to project power and accomplish specific operational goals.
Turkish company Baykar has unveiled the Bayraktar Kemankes cruise missile, designed for its TB2, TB3 and Akinci combat drones, with a range of 200 km and the ability to carry payloads of up to 30 kg, transforming the future of unmanned aerial warfare.