Serbia to Buy Turkish Bayraktar TB2 Drones

On 5th October, 2020, it was reported at that Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić went to Ankara to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to finalize the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 drones for the Serbian military. The purchase comes following the widespread use of Bayraktar TB2s by Azerbaijan in the current Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The deal appears to largely be based on the TB2’s combat success in various regions. In addition to Nagorno-Karabakh, TB2s have served in Syria and Libya, where they also have performed well, despite some losses. The move seems to be the first of the new Serbian-Turkish defense partnership, which was announced by Vučić in October 2019.

However, Serbia has also bought Chinese CASC CH-92A recently, with deliveries taking place in July 2020. The CH-92A drone purchase came with an agreement for some technology transfer; it is unknown if the current TB2 deal has a similar agreement. The CH-92A was also bought with consideration given to its combat deployment in Yemen. But, CH-92As have been known to have reliability issues, including a non-combat loss in another country.

It could be possible that Serbia plans to evaluate both types and compare them to determine which brings better capability for the cost. In pure technical characteristics, the TB2 is superior to the CH-92A, with additional carrying capacity, loiter time, maximum speed, and operational ceiling. This can largely be attributed to the TB2 being about 25% larger than the CH-92, when comparing wingspan and length.