Turkish Armed Forces (TAF)
SONGAR is a new armed drone system designed and manufactured by ASİSGUARD, a part of Asis Electronics and Information Systems, to serve as a force-multiplier for low-intensity conflicts.
The drone is capable of performing critical tasks during defence operations conducted by the security forces. It is the first domestic armed drone system to be operated by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).
SONGAR is Turkey’s first indigenous drone armed with a machine gun. ASİSGUARD launched the SONGAR drone at the IDEF 2019 international defence industry exhibition held in Istanbul, Turkey, in April 2019.
The company unveiled the armed drone for providing fire support to convoys or defensive positions, in December 2019.
The armed drone was delivered to the TAF after the successful completion of its acceptance tests in February 2020. The tests were conducted using a grenade launcher in place of the machine gun.
SONGAR armed drone design and features
The unmanned aircraft features an ergonomic and user-friendly system design which reduces operator load during missions. The modern design complies with the IP 67 standards. The SONGAR tactical aerial vehicle is mainly used to increase survival against fire in patrol zones and fortress patrol areas.
The aerial drone has a width of 145cm from rotor to rotor and height of 70cm. It has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 45kg.
The portable unmanned aerial system (UAS) can be easily deployed by infantry units and small security elements. It is capable of conducting operations during day and night.
SONGAR is equipped with advanced features such as drone return-home on link-loss, in-flight mission change, autonomous and remote-control modes. It also has the capability to perform visual battle damage assessments.
The drone system’s machine gun can fire NATO class 5.56x45mm rounds. It has a maximum ammunition load capacity of 200 rounds and can also support single and 15-round burst modes.
The gun has the capability to perform fully autonomous missions with multi-layered safety, requiring final consent from the operator for firing. The ammunition box of the drone can be quickly changed and reloaded by the operator for uninterrupted mission.
The armed drone system is installed with an electronic sight and a ballistic calculation module which improve its firing precision. The machine gun is equipped with recoil absorption capability. The barrel elevation motion range of the gun system is between 0° and 60°.
Payload aboard SONGAR drone
The armed drone is offered with various sub systems including a multi-rotor drone platform (MDP), gun stabilization system (GSS), drone mounted machine gun (DMMG) and a ground control station (GCS).
The SONGAR drone system is installed with two cameras including a pilot camera with 10x zoom and a gun-mounted camera. The cameras are capable of transmitting video and real-time images. The night sensors allow the drone to perform operations during night within a range of 10km.
The camera systems are capable of performing real-time video transfer as well as video and data recording for post-mission analysis. The armed drone uses both GPS and GLONASS navigation systems for communications during operations.
The armed drone serves as a military rapid reaction system that neutralises known threats. It also protects critical military bases against terrorist intrusion.
The unmanned aircraft can assist military convoys as a protecting armed drone system. It also offers versatility during land, maritime and special operations.
The maximum operational range of the unmanned vehicle is 3km. SONGAR can hit targets within a 15cm area from a distance of 200m. The drone can ascend to an altitude of up to 2,800m at mean sea level and 400m above ground level.