The Romanian armed forces are procuring Bayraktar TB-2 unmanned combat drones (UCAV), according to a statement on the European procurement platform TED on April 20. Accordingly, the order has a volume of 321 million US dollars.
The Romanian Ministry of Defense had already announced in September 2022 that the procurement of up to 18 TB-2 UCAVs from the Turkish manufacturer Bayraktar was planned and that a procurement proposal would be submitted to Parliament in Bucharest in order to implement the financing. Romania has been pursuing a policy of increasing arms spending since the beginning of the Ukraine war. The country not only shares a national border with Ukraine, but also with the Republic of Moldova, which is increasingly suffering from Russian destabilization measures. The exact quantities and other possible services such as a training and logistics package cannot be found in the notification.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone, procured by Romania, was developed by the Istanbul-based company Baykar Technologies and was introduced to the Turkish armed forces in 2016. With a length of 6.5 m, a wingspan of 12 m and a maximum take-off weight of 650 kg, it belongs to the mid-range tactical drones. According to the manufacturer, the load capacity for sensors and weapons is 150 kg. The maximum speed given by the producer is 220 km/h, and the maximum flight time is around 27 hours. The ground control station has a radio range of up to 150 km. Coupled with the ability to carry out missions partially or completely autonomously, the TB2 offers a broad mission profile.
The Bayraktar TB-2 is developing into an export hit, especially in Africa. As early as 2021, the NATO country Poland also decided in favor of the UCGV made in Turkey, which was able to demonstrate its capabilities on the Azerbaijani side in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. On the Ukrainian side, too, the TB-2 gained an almost legendary reputation at the beginning of the war in 2022. As the conflict progressed and the increased use of integrated Russian air defense systems and electronic countermeasures across the board, the drone appeared increasingly vulnerable and of reduced combat value. The Transylvanian city of Timisoara is specified as the place of performance for the UCGV, referred to in Romanian as "Sistem UAS Bayraktar TB2". Until 2004, the Romanian Air Force operated the 93rd Air Force Base in the city. However, it can be assumed that this is not a matter of reactivation of the location. Rather, it can be assumed that the drones will be delivered via Timișoara Traian Vuia International Airport.
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