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29 October 2020


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i think canada has stopped supplying important parts to the TB2, or T2B you refer to that turkey is using... this was based on them being used in the armenia - azerbajain conflict...


James - Turkey did not depend only on Canada for the TB2 electro-optics. Germany's Hensoldt corporation is supplying them also.

Eric Newhill

Peter in Toronto,
Maybe. Russia says it has caused over 100 Turko/Zionist drones to crash. I suspect a lot of what TTG writes about is the usual Turkish propaganda/braggadocio/threat making; though it should not be taken too lightly because it is the future of asymmetrical warfare. This conflict is a good opportunity to learn about counter measures development. The Russians and Armenians will turn this initial setback, such that it may be, around in short order.

One counter measure would be to get the Zionist Ferengi to stop supplying the tech. Of course that will never happen. I hope it comes back and bites them in the ass some day.


I don’t think Turkey is going to reverse engineer the Rotax 912 IS injected engine any time soon. It is an extremely sophisticated box of tricks and the ECU is made by Collins Avionics in America. It is designed to spend its entire working life at 5500 rpm, producing about 90 hp and weighs just 140 pounds installed.

The information on just how that engine does what it does is extremely closely held and getting technical design information out of Rotax is like trying to get blood out of a stone. I am a member of the engine (civilian) user group and I have noticed the odd attempt at someone trawling for technical details which generally fails. All Rotax gives you is installation, maintenance and overhaul information and they charge $1000 for the dongle that allows you to talk to the ECU. They don’t tell you why or how this thing works, they just give you very terse germanic instructions on how to run it.

This is a very smart motor. It’s systems are fault tolerant and self diagnosing. Everything is redundant. It looks like a little old toy but it ain’t. The Chinese are now trying to reverse engineer the carbureted version which is about fifty years old.


Armenia is poor; infantry modernization was low on its priorities.

Previous glint research was on snipers and small arm optics detection. Nobody was pointing the detector up. Given that UAVs have small radar signatures, glint detection offers a nearly guaranteed metric. (It might be slower than radar.)

Russian submariners used to worry about their IR signatures. Guess the Americans didn't.


@Walrus: "I don’t think Turkey is going to reverse engineer the Rotax 912 IS injected engine any time soon."

They may not need to. The improved TB2, the Bayraktar Akinci uses an engine from Ukraine's Ivchenko-Progress.

Ishmael Zechariah

Boar or feral hog hunting at night is permitted in Turkey: https://www.anatoliasafari.com/en/wild-boar-hunting-in-turkey
They do damage crops and are considered vermin by most of the population.
It is also permitted in many states in the USA, sometimes w/ a special permit:

These links, as were the previous ones, are only for your information. No intimations.

Ishmael Zechariah



Thanks for the info and links. There's an over abundance of feral hogs in Florida too, with a year round season.

The Twisted Genius

Fred and Ishmael,

Feral hogs are a growing destructive problem over wide sections of the US. I know allows hunting all day, all night, all year with damned near any weapon imaginable. They also allow baiting. It's a good use for those ugly, soulless black plastic guns with high capacity magazines. Their perfect for hunting packs of wild hogs.

Hog hunting in Hawaii is a totally different affair. Most of the pig hunters I knew didn't use firearms, just a pack of dogs and knives... big freakin, knives and big cast iron balls. On the Big Island, one of my Samoan soldiers baited the hogs with left over C-rations. In the morning light, I watched him creep up on a hog, tackle it and slit its throat. It went to the mess tent and fed the company that evening. I got a pig for a Recondo School luau by slinging my hammock above a guava tree and sleeping there with a Colt 45. In the early morning, when the hogs came for a guava breakfast, I got a clean shot from three feet away. It took two of us to haul that bastard out of the jungle, but it cooked up nice.


@ Leith .. apparently they were making the cameras and a few other things too... in this pic it shows austria was involved, but apparently they are a subsidiary of bombardier and not allowed to sell anymore to the turks..

The Twisted Genius

Leith and Walrus,

I don't think the Turks will be reverse engineering the Rotax 912 either. There are several Turkish manufacturers of engines for drones already. There's the TEI-PD170 turbo diesel aviation engine developed for the ANKA drone. There are several other turbojet engine and turbo prop engines suitable for drones although I haven't seen a direct replacement for the Rotax 912. I did find an interesting video of alternatives to the Rotax 912 for the homebuilt aircraft market. Most are based on small automotive engines. I especially like the Australian built Rotec rotary engines. Looks perfect for a Fokker Dreidecker replica.




I think the two key game changers coming down the pipe are going to be AI-augmented imagery analysis and ubiquitous SATCOM (potentially with the AI on the bird). The recent past dynamic where top tier capability was something a bit over 100 simultaneous orbits is going, in the fullness of time, to seem quaint. Makes me wonder how many clever people are working on hiding streams in commercial traffic.


TTG, stay clear of Rotec Their reputation for customer service is not good.

Keith Harbaugh

TTG, I totally agree with you on the need for effective U.S. EW.
I suggest also the need for sensors (radar? other?) to detect when drones are launched, determine their flight path, rapidly alert units which are at risk, and, in an ultimate system, even direct appropriate kinetic/laser neutralization measures against the drone.

Another idea is to locate where the signal controlling the drone is coming from, and rapidly launch a strike on that location. The same idea as counterbattery fire.

Gabriel A Uriarte

Fantastic discussion, and the first one I've seen that incorporates some very fine pieces to come out of the Libya war (I wish those red team guys would write more). May I add, given the angst visible in some English-language media about drones being the (latest) weapon spelling doom to the tank, a recent analysis co-written by the brilliant Michael Kofman.


' There is a thirst for drawing lessons from contemporary conflicts that feature modern weapon systems. However, the result is often generalizing from a few cases, and at times, learning things that are not true. What can be discerned from this war is hardly revelatory. Remotely operated systems offer the utility of tactical aviation, close air support, and precision guided weapons to small nations, and to even relatively poor countries, for a cheap price. They saturate the battlefield with disposable sensors, shooters, and sensor-shooter packages in the form of loitering munitions. Notably, they enable precision artillery and strike systems to engage fixed positions, as has been seen across modern conflicts from Ukraine to Syria. Furthermore, tanks are vulnerable to counters, as they always have been, but it is unclear what other vehicles offer a better combination of firepower, protection, and maneuverability on the battlefield.

The war illustrates that in an offensive, or counter-offensive, the only thing worse than being in a heavily armored vehicle is being outside of one. If anything, the tank appears to be the most survivable vehicle, given the small warheads on drone carried munitions. These munitions often disable or mission kill the vehicle, but the crew can still survive anything other than a direct hit. Much of the hand-wringing in Western circles that comes from watching these conflicts stems from the epiphany that there is no way to avoid casualties on the modern battlefield, especially among an expensive force, replete with boutique capabilities that cannot be lost in large quantities. Furthermore, the ratios of support to maneuver units are important. Compared to forces like the Russian military, Western ground units feature poor availability of air defense and electronic warfare, and the expectations that existing air defenses or tactical aviation may be easily adapted to counter unmanned systems are probably unfounded. Armenia’s performance illustrates this problem. Drones are relatively cheap, and this military technology is diffusing much faster than cost-effective air defense or electronic warfare suitable to countering them.

That said, Azerbaijan’s unmanned air force has been operating against an opponent with incredibly dated short-range air defenses which are neither suitable nor effectively employed to defend against drones. Armenia does not have layered air defense, effective electronic warfare, or a large amount of tactical aviation. It has situated its air defense systems in relatively exposed fixed positions, in a mountainous region where air defense is even more difficult by virtue of the terrain. In truth, both sides are demonstrating tactical deficiency in their offensive and defensive tactics. While attaining some kills using optical sights, Armenia’s modernized Soviet systems (essentially technology that dates back to the early 1970s) were never meant to engage combinations of small drones, loitering munitions, precision artillery, or unmanned combat aerial vehicle systems. More advanced air defense capabilities like Tor-M2s are few, and have been intentionally held in reserve, although Azerbaijan has been reticent to use its fixed wing or rotary aviation. Armenia’s older S-300PS systems appear to have had no role in the conflict, and some launchers may have been destroyed early on, having never even been deployed.

The lessons from this conflict are consistent with those of other wars in the latter 20th century: It is much better to have a smaller ground force that is well defended from the air, than a vast armored force that is completely exposed to sensors and airpower from above. Well prepared defenses, if insufficiently protected or camouflaged from the air — which is increasingly difficult — are naturally vulnerable. The diffusion of remotely operated systems will outpace that of air defenses or specialized counter-drone systems, rendering older generations of air defense largely obsolete. Drones and loitering munitions will be, for some time, cheaper to acquire than the requisite defenses. And one can distribute forces, but they should be concentrated for assaults. There is no way getting around canalizing terrain, at least not until the battlefield features hover tanks. That tanks are vulnerable to anti-tank weapons should come as no surprise, but other vehicles, which trade survivability for maneuverability, seem to fare no better against anti-tank guided missiles. Vulnerable or not, it is unclear what other vehicle can achieve the tank’s mission on the battlefield.

Finally, fetishizing combat video feeds plays to a Western intellectual preference for the tactical, and system on system evaluations, while ignoring the basic fact that Azerbaijan has not been able to attain a significant operational success. This perhaps is the most important lesson of the conflict: Tactical successes, which may appear impressive, can fail to add up to an operational breakthrough. In such cases, military strategy turns to the old familiar: a battle of attrition. '


Thanks for writing about this TTG - I was really hoping someone at SST would.

If Radio Electronic Combat is going to be the best way of combating the drones, I am going to bet on the drones. Once you have your drones equipped with trained up AI models such that they don't need much instruction from home, I think that spread spectrum radio communications should solve the rest of the problems. The AI should also make it difficult to effectively 'bring down drones by jamming their GPS'. Drones + AI == a-very-big-deal ... but then we already knew that.

I think that drones are doing for SAM complexes what the ATGM did for the tank.


The Mysterious Drone Photographed Over California
Mysterious Aircraft Thought to be RQ-180 or “Polecat” Drone Derivative Posted on Social Media – Then Disappears.


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