The BAHA Unmanned Aerial Vehicle design has been updated by HAVELSAN, part of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, which operates in the defense and information technology industries. Mehmet Onur Özçelik, Simulation, Autonomous and Platform Management Technologies R&D and Engineering Director at HAVELSAN, informed about the changes. Özçelik announced that they have completed work on BAHA, saying, “We have updated BAHA. As a new concept, we are currently conducting flight tests with a platform with completely different features. We will be field testing this platform very soon.”
Özçelik continued, highlighting the characteristics of the new BAHA: “One of the most important of these is that it will now be able to fly in weather conditions that are not suitable for flight. With its leakproof feature, it can fly in certain rainy and precipitation conditions, especially in cold weather. In addition, there will be electro-optical systems with much more advanced cameras, capable of detecting and identifying from a much greater distance than an imaging system. There will also be solutions that will allow it to fly stably in signal-blocking environments. In order to develop this, we carried out numerous field tests. We have completed production of the new prototype and started our user demo activities in flight tests. In this context, we are testing our newly developed aircraft and I hope that we will help our armed forces with significantly better results. Production of the new prototype has been completed and flight tests are currently underway. We anticipate that it will be used in conjunction with the digital entity project.”
BAHA is a small, low-cost, low-altitude, long-lifetime UAV designed to provide continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services day and night. The system was first demonstrated during Turkey’s Anatolian Eagle 2021 exercise in June 2021. Later, on October 2, 2021, a statement on the official HAVELSAN Twitter account stated that the BAHA low-altitude UAV has successfully completed its first field tests.
According to HAVELSAN, the BAHA is a Low-Altitude Autonomous Aircraft that meets the needs of modern armies with its vertical landing and take-off capability, fully autonomous mission capability and modular architecture that allows for the integration of different payloads. During horizontal flight, the system is powered by a petrol engine, while during vertical takeoffs and landings it is assisted by electric motors. Capable of conducting missions at altitudes of up to 15,000 feet, the system has a range of up to 80 kilometers and can remain airborne for up to 6 hours with a gasoline engine (up to 2 hours with an electric motor). BAHA can also carry a payload of up to 5 kg. The 3.7 meter wide span system is designed to be easily erected by two people, operated by one and is reportedly up and running in minutes.
In the event of a link failure, BAHA platforms, which can be managed as a team or swarm from a single ground control station, can return to home base and land automatically. In addition, it is planned that the system will work in autonomous teams (swarms) with its “Joint Mission Intelligence” as part of HAVELSAN’s “Digital Unit Concept” project and will thus be able to operate in conjunction with air, ground, naval and other platforms. The system is expected to complete some more flight tests before entering service with the Turkish Armed Forces in 2023.