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MELTEM-III Project and ATR-72/600 TMPA

The first of the Leonardo ATR 72-600 aircraft, which was previously integrated with radars by Turkish Aerospace and will be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces as part of the Meltem 3 Project, landed on the facilities of Turkish Aerospace for final testing at the beginning of March according to the Turkish Aerospace E-magazine news was published by TUSAS on today

Date: April 18, 2020

With the MELTEM-III Project which is the last one of the MELTEM Programs with the approximate value of US$218.7 Million [€180 Million, the cost of the AMASCOS-300 Mission System procured under the MELTEM-II Project is not included in this figure, merely the aircraft procurement, structural modification, test and certification costs are covered] two ATR-72/600 utility aircraft in TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft) configuration entered the inventory (inducted into Turkish Navy service in July and August 2013) in 2013.

Within the scope of the Project, further six ATR-72/600 Maritime Patrol (M/P) Aircraft with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) capabilities will be also procured. According to the official website of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC), the delivery of six ATR-72/600 Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (TMPA) will take place during 2019 — 2020. 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 and 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 (TA) on 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. Within the framework of the Project, as 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 TA's facilities. TA'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.

According to original schedule, upon the completion of the certification and acceptance tests the first of the six ATR-72/600 TMPAs was planned to be delivered to the Turkish Navy in February 2017. The remaining five TMPAs were intended to be delivered by the end of 2018’s first quarter. However, the first ATR-72/600 green aircraft to receive Structural Modification could only arrived at TA's facilities on April 19, 2013 and modification efforts have been launched in the same year. Following the completion of the Structural Modification (covering the integration of Airborne Maritime Situation Control System-300 [AMASCOS-300] mission equipment and converting the green aircraft into an MPA with ASW capabilities) activities, first aircraft accomplished its maiden flight on July 14, 2016 and was sent to Torino/ Italy for the execution of the certification tests by the Italian Certification Authority (DAAA) and Finmeccanica, on the same day. The second aircraft was sent to Torino, Italy in April 2017 upon the completion of the Structural Modification. The flight tests are being executed at the Flight Test Center of the Alenia Aermacchi/Leonardo Company in Torino.

The delivery date of the first ATR-72/600 TMPA was later postponed to May 2017, but due to the difficulties arising during the certification tests, the aforesaid delivery could not be actualized. At a press meeting held on May 10, 2017 during IDEF ‘17 Fair in response to our question on whether the first ATR-72/600 Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft would be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces in May, the Vice President of Leonardo in charge of Strategy, Markets and Business Development Giovanni SOCCODATO told that due to the delays occurred in the certification process, the delivery would be accomplished in the second half of 2017.

Meanwhile, procured within the scope of the MELTEM-III Project, eight of the ten AMASCOS-300 Mission System sets to be utilized at the ATR-72/600 TMPA platforms powered with two PW127M turboprop engines produced by P&W Canada were received as of April 2014, and the remaining 2 AMASCOS-300 Mission System sets were delivered in September/ October 2014. Six of the aforesaid Mission Systems will be utilized in the 6 ATR-72/600 aircraft to be delivered in Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (TMPA) configuration, while the remaining four would be stored in order to be used as backups for securing the lifetime maintenance and operation of the AMASCOS-300 Mission System deployed at both at the P-235 (CN235-100M) and ATR-72/600 TMPA Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Turkish Navy.

While the P-235 MPAs, equipped with Link-11 Tactical Data Link System, are able to carry Mk46 Lightweight Torpedo and Depth Bombs at the external hardpoints/pylons under the wings, the ATR-72/600 ASW/ASuW aircraft can carry the weapon load on two pylons at the fuselage sides (lack the underwing pylons for external payload due to their wing designs) will additionally feature the Link-16 Tactical Data Link and Mk54 Lightweight Torpedo capabilities. Via the Link-11 Tactical Data Link System operating at the HF band, data communication could be conducted up to the range of 200km+ at the Line of Sight (LoS). The engineering support required for the integration of the Mk46 Mode 5 and Mk54 Lightweight Torpedoes to ATR-72/600 TMPAs is provided by the Raytheon Company. To this end, a contract worth US$5.7 Million was signed between the Main Contractor Alenia Aermacchi and Raytheon in July 2014.

The AMASCOS-300 Airborne Maritime Situation Control System deployed both at CN235-100M (P-235) and ATR-72/600 ASW/ASuW aircraft, featuring a total of four operator consoles (Radar Operator, Tactical Coordination Officer [TacCo], Acoustics Operator and Electronic Warfare (EW) and Communication Operator) and includes: Ocean Master 400 Search Radar with a range of 190nm, in 400W power and with SAR/ISAR/SPOT-SAR/STRIP-SAR/MMTI capabilities, the AselFLIR 200T FLIR System enabling the identification of surface contacts up to 35nm range, Sonobuoy Launcher, TMS-200 Active/Passive Sonobuoy Processing System (for the sonobuoys, capable of listening to 16 sonobuoys simultaneously), TCAS II Air Traffic Collision Avoidance System, DR-3000 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) [functions also as an RWR), AN/ASQ-508(V) Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) with an antenna length of 4.5m and an antenna weighing nearly 50kg, Link-11/Link-16 Tactical Data Link Systems, LN-100G INS/GPS, ARS-700 Airborne Rescue System, APX-113 IFF System and Aselsan’s ASES-235 EW Integrated Self-Protection System containing the AN/AAR-60 MILDS MWS and four AN/ALE-47 CMDS Launchers. Three million lines software was developed for the real-time AMASCOS-300 Mission System within the scope of the Program. The Ocean Master 400 Radar with a mechanically rotated antenna array is capable of detecting a submarine periscope from a 30nm range and an altitude of 1,000ft under favorable weather conditions, and a patrol boat from a 90nm range and 6,000ft altitude within an area of 100 square meters. 

The first of a total of six aircraft was sent to the Leonardo company for the completion of certification tests following the integration of relevant systems at the Turkish Aerospace facilities in 2016. The first aircraft, the certification tests of which were successfully completed, and landed on Turkish Aerospace’s Facilities will be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces after the completion of the final testing.