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A Look at Turkey’s Air and Missile Defence Capabilities

by Ibrahim SÜNNETÇİ The Air and Missile Defence Operations are conducted throughout peace, crisis and wartime in Turkish national airspace under the coordination of the Turkish Air Force Command (TurAFC) and in line with the directives of the Turkish General Staff (TGS). The Air and Missile Defence Operations are conducted to maintain the survivability of troops and to protect strategic and economic facilities against the enemy’s air and missile attacks by means of defending, neutralizing, delaying, preventing or mitigating. The operations are executed in coordination with offensive air operations within counter air operations, in which one of the air operations functions

The main air and missile defence capabilities of the Turkish Air Force (TurAF) are composed of over 30 fixed and portable 3D air surveillance radar sensors that provide a real-time air picture of Turkey’s Airspace. They are deployed under the Air Control Group Command, 7 Control Warning Centers/Posts (KIM/KIP), 4 E-7T Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft serving under Airborne Warning Control Group Command and accepted as force multiplier, ground based air defence missile systems (MIM-14 Nike Hercules Missile Systems operating under four active Nike Hercules Squadron Commands and four HAWK XXI System Batteries) under the 15th Missile Base Command and Tactical Data Link Systems that provide the command and control between such systems. Currently, the TurAF - which does not have a new generation long-range air and missile defence system capable of intercepting ballistic missiles, is one of the few countries in the world and the only member of NATO meeting its air defence requirements with the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters.

The operational requirements defined for the Long-Range Air and Missile Defence System that Turkey has been trying to procure since the beginning of the 1990s have been aimed at providing two important objectives. First and foremost is the interception of conventional (air breathing) threats that may be directed to Turkey from the longest distance. The second objective is the interception of Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBMs).

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