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First P-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft Delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Under the MELTEM-3 Project

December 11, 2020

Within the scope of the MELTEM-3 Project carried out by the Presidency of Defense Industries, the first P-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) was delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces with a ceremony.

Vice President of Defense Industries Serdar DEMİREL, Turkish Naval Forces Naval Aviation Group Commander Rear Admiral (LH) Alper YENİEL; on behalf of the main contractor LEONARDO, Deputy General Manager Nadia STEINER; on behalf of the subcontractors, President & CEO of Turkish Aerospace Temel KOTİL, HAVELSAN General Manager Mehmet Akif NACAR, ASELSAN Vice President Bayram GENÇCAN, CEO of MilSOFT İsmail Başyiğit as well as THALES Aircraft Director Levent TAŞKIN attended the ceremony held at Turkish Aerospace facilities.

Today, the Turkish Naval Forces Command defends Turkey's national interests in its continental shelf and surrounding seas, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean, with 6 P-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft that successfully serve as a strategic element of the Turkish Armed Forces. Following the commissioning of 6 ATR-72/600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft that are capable of performing Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions, after several years of delay, the Turkish Naval Forces will gain a critical capability to control and protect the Blue Homeland, which has more than 8300 km of coastline.

Within the scope of the MELTEM-III Project, 2 ATR-72/600 utility aircraft in the multirole configuration were delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command in 2013. The structural modification activities on the ATR-72/600 Utility Aircraft with tail numbers TCB701 and TCB702 were performed by the Prime Contractor Alenia Aermacchi/Leonardo at Napoli-Capodichino and Torino-Caselle facilities. To this end, the aircraft were equipped with new radio sets and an IFF system. The contract of the Meltem-III Project, covering the procurement of a total of 6 ATR-72/600 aircraft and their modification into ASW and ASuW configuration for the Turkish Navy, was signed between Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A and Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) in July 2012. The agreement is an amendment to a previous deal signed on July 20, 2005 and became effective in April 2006 between Alenia and the Turkish Government for the delivery of 10 ATR-72/500 ASW aircraft to the Turkish Navy (in May 2013, Finmeccanica later declared that the contract amendment included 6 ASuW and ASW + 2 Utility Aircraft).

Within the framework of the project, as the Main Sub-Contractor of Alenia/Leonardo, all related modification activities to convert the ‘green’ ATR-72/600 in ATR-72/600 TMPA will be carried out at Turkish Aerospace’s facilities. Turkish Aerospace’s work share includes Kit-A and tools manufacturing, procurement of material and support equipment, structural and electrical modification, assembly, test, Ground Flight Support, and Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) activities.

In a written statement, the Presidency of Defense Industries also shared that following the delivery of the first Maritime Patrol Aircraft, 2 additional Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 1 Utility Aircraft are also planned to be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces in 2021. According to the information we have received, after the 2 Utility Aircraft delivered in 2013, other aircraft to be procured under the MELTEM-III program (6 in total) will be provided in the AsUW and ASW configurations. In this context, with the delivery of 1 additional Utility Aircraft, the number of aircraft delivered under the MELTEM-III program will be 9 in total, including 6 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 3 Utility Aircraft.

With the completion of all deliveries within the scope of MELTEM-II and MELTEM-III Projects, the total number of Maritime Patrol Aircraft with Anti-Surface and Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities will increase to 12.

P-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft

As part of the project, the P-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft were integrated with critical systems such as Advanced Radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Acoustic Processing Systems, Tactical Data Link 11 and 16, as well as Lightweight Torpedoes (MK46 and MK54) carrying and launching capability.

Thanks to these systems, the aircraft will be able to conduct critical missions such as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), Over the Horizon Targeting, and Search and Rescue (SAR).

In addition to new features such as the Link-16 system and carrying and launching MK54 torpedoes, which are not available on P-235 aircraft, P-72 aircraft will have the capability to operate for longer periods of time.

The Role of Domestic and National Industry in the Project

Extensive participation of the Turkish Industry was ensured within the scope of the project. Turkish Aerospace carried out detail parts manufacturing, aircraft modification, material supply, ground and flight test support, and Integrated Logistics Support activities.

Aselsan provided various equipment under the project. The aircraft are equipped with the Link 11 and Link 16 systems developed by MİLSOFT, and The Maritime Patrol Ground Station was updated by HAVELSAN to support P-72 aircraft.

Thanks to the support of the Presidency of Defense Industries to improve the capabilities of the Turkish Naval Forces, various systems became operational and ready for service. Additionally, several air, sea, submarine, and logistics projects that will further strengthen the Turkish Naval Forces Command's combat and logistics capabilities are underway.

Furthermore, SSB plans to provide the Naval Forces Command with the necessary support to operate and maintain the procured systems by launching a 3-year logistic support service for the mission systems on the Maritime Patrol Aircraft in 2021.