The Libyan National Army (LNA) has confirmed today that it has shot down a Turkish-made TB2 Bayrakter unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to forces of the Government of National Accord.
According to an LNA military officer who spoke with Military Africa, the TB2 UAV was brought down using the newly delivered Pantsir S1 Air Defence missile system in the south of Tripoli today.
The TB2 Bayrakter UAV was conducting offensive operations in support of the GNA before it was targetted by the UAE-delivered Pantsir S1 air defence system.
The UAE supplied the Pantsir S1 air defence system specifically to counter the Turkish-made Bayrakta TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in which the forces of the GNA have been using against LNA forces during its recent combat operations Tripoli.
For a long time now, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have provided the LNA with military equipment, which initially helped General Khalifa Haftar to gain the upper hand in Libya’s eight-year conflict.
Drone Warfare in Libya
Since late last year, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) are increasingly being used by both sides, signaling a new drone war in the north African country.
On September 24, a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial combat vehicle operating from the Mitiga International Airport, under the control of the United Nations recognized Government of National Accord (GNA); came under attack by UAE-LNA operated Wing Loong II UCAV.
TB2 Bayraktar UAV
The TB2 Bayraktar Tactical UAV is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class surveillance and reconnaissance system initially developed for the Turkish Armed Forces, the UAV Platform has a blended wing body design with its inverse V-Tail structure.
The Bayraktar UAV System has a cruising speed of 70 knots with an operational flight altitude of 24.000 feet, 24 hours of flight time and a communication range of 150 km and has a 12-m wing span, 650-kg maximum take-off weight and a 55-kg payload capacity.
The Bayraktar TB2 employs the MAM and MAM-L ammunitions and UMTAS precision-guided missiles.
TB2 Bayraktar in GNA service
The Bayraktar TB2 UAV has repeatedly struck Libya’s strongman Haftar Khalifa’s Al-Jufra airbase, which is his main operational base. A particular attack, destroyed two Russian-made Ilyushin 76 military aircraft on the ground.
The GNA received 12 Bayraktar TB2s in two batches between May and July, 2019 at least half of them have been destroyed during UAE-LNA airstrikes using Wing Loong IIs UCAVs, the second batch delivered in July 2019, was to replace the losses.
A third batch was delivered at the end of August following new losses over the summer.