TAI unveils new unmanned combat helicopter
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has unveiled a new unmanned helicopter dubbed “Mosquito”, TRDEFENCE sources reported on Friday.
Mosquito was developed in a very short time frame in order to meet the existing tactical weaponized hovering vehicle requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in hard-to-reach mountainous areas. First test flight of the helicopter saw it climb to 150 meters and was reported to be very successful.
TAI sources said Mosquito is to have an operating radius of 150 kilometers.
Mosquito was designed as both an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and a tactical combat aircraft. It carries the advanced AselFLIR 300T electooptics suite, built by Turkish defence electronics giant Aselsan, giving it the capability to see in the infrared bandwidth and operate day and night and under adverse weather conditions. AselFLIR can also ”paint” targets with its integrated laser target designator.
Mosquito is armed with a dual Cirit missile launcher under its sleek fuselage. Cirit is a laser-guided high precision rocket originally designed to provide Turkey’s new generation T-129 attack helicopters with the ability to make surgical strikes on soft and lightly armored targets. It has an effective range of 8 kilometeres.
Mosquito is regarded as Turkey’s first modern unmanned combat aircraft and expected to enter service with the TAF later in 2011. It’ll be used primarily as a reconnaissance helicopter but can also provide fire support in anti-terrorist operations.
Mosquito can be operated by a high-frequency spread spectrum data link or via satellite. An on-board INS system, also built by Aselsan, provides precise navigation information.
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