The Syrian Democratic Forces said its fighters shot down a Turkish Bayraktar Tactical UAS that crashed near Quda, a small town in the Rajo district of Efrin near the Syria-Turkey border.
“On February 12, 2018, the air defense of our forces managed to shoot down an unmanned Biraqdar reconnaissance aircraft in Qodeh village of Afrin,” the SDF said in a statement.
— Rojava Defense Units | YPG (@DefenseUnits) February 12, 2018
The claim comes just two days after the Kurd-led forces said their fighters shot down one of a pair of Turkish T129 ATAK helicopters the crashed in the same area. One well-known geo-locator @Obretix geo-located the T129 crash site to just outside Omeran, around 2km (1.3 miles) southwest of Quda.
The Turkish roundel identifier is visible in the wreckage of the drone in the video shared by the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The Bayraktar typically operates at around 20,000 feet and has a service ceiling of 27,000 feet, placing it outside the range of man-portable air-defense missile systems (MANPADS), and the drone may have crash landed due to malfunction.
Turkey has long held that the YPG in the Efrin area have MANPADS. The Turkish Armed Forces said on February 2 they had captured a Russian SA-18 MANPADS in Efrin on January 30-31, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army units had earlier published images of the weapon.
In its statement, the SDF also claimed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed the body of the plane but have not shared imagery of any signature on the downed drone. The SDF may have intended to say that Erdogan it was of the type that Erdogan signed.
Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Systems
Turkey’s armed forces fields a fleet of 38 Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Systems. The Medium Altitude and Long Endurance (MALE) class Bayraktar TB2 has wing span of 12m and a maximum takeoff weight of 650kg. In an August 2014 test flight, a Bayraktar TB2 flew for more than 24 hours.
TB2s can carry two small missiles. In December 2015, the drone successfully test-fired the Roketsan UMTAS long range air-to-surface anti-tank missile.