The milestone event, eagerly anticipated and followed on social media, saw ANKA-3 take to the skies for a 70-minute flight, reaching an altitude of 8,000 feet and flying at 150 knots.
TUSAŞ tarafından geliştirilen insansız savaş uçağımız Anka III, bugün ilk uçuşunu başarıyla gerçekleştirdi. İnşallah uçağımız, sahip olduğu gelişmiş teknolojilerle, tasarımıyla ve özellikleriyle ülkemizin savunmasına çok güçlü bir katkı sağlayacak. 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/ElZaSoNRVo
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) December 28, 2023
Designed with a stealthy “flying wing” and tailless structure, ANKA-3’s unique build minimizes detection by early warning systems, although it precludes direct air combat capabilities.
This inaugural flight, which began at 08:38, was escorted by the HÜRKUŞ Basic Training Aircraft and another ANKA UAV, showcasing Turkish Aerospace Industries’ capabilities in developing advanced air platforms using domestic resources.
First unveiled on the runway in March 2023, ANKA-3 underwent rigorous ground testing before this flight. Its jet engine and structural design enable a high air platform volume, with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 6.5 tons.
The UAV is equipped to carry substantial ammunition loads, with capacity for 650 kg at each fuselage station and additional stations on the wings. This versatile payload capacity allows integration of various munitions, from commonly used UAV ammunition to larger ordnances like the SOM-J, MK-82, and Small Diameter Bomb.
In a groundbreaking move, a tanker version of ANKA-3 is planned to provide aerial refueling services to other platforms.
Notably, the Super Şimşek UAV, which will be attached under the wings, is part of the Autonomous Wingman Concept (OKU) program, functioning as a pilot’s assistant UAV.
The maiden flight of ANKA-3, initially expected in May 2023, was delayed due to performance issues with the UAV’s actuator cards.
However, following intensive development work, the UAV was primed for its first flight since October. The successful flight of ANKA-3 closely follows the planned but postponed flight of the Combat Fighter KAAN, marking a pivotal moment in Turkish aerospace advancements.