Meteksan Defence Exhibits Game Changing Solutions at IDEF 2019

At IDEF 2019, Meteksan Defence showcased its new solutions and updated products that have proven themselves in the field. President of Meteksan Defence Selçuk ALPARSLAN also shared information about the company’s participation in IDEF during his meeting with members of the press at the fair

Issue 93

Meteksan Defence was established in 2006, bringing together, under a single roof, defence and aerospace sector-related projects and activities of high-tech companies operating within Bilkent Holding. In line with the vision laid out by the Presidency of Defence Industries, the company continues its works in the defence and aerospace sector towards the development of independent and indigenous high technology products and subsystems for the Turkish Armed Forces, allied and friendly countries.

Operating in six primary areas – radar systems, perimeter surveillance systems, laser and electro-optic systems, communication systems, underwater acoustic systems and platform simulators – Meteksan Defence takes part in many of Turkey’s main platform projects, such as those with a focus on national ship, helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developments. The company is also taking part in many critical projects, including those involving the development of anti-tank and air defence missile systems. The main indigenous and national products developed by Meteksan Defence include radar systems for helicopters and UAVs, perimeter surveillance radars for border and critical facility protection, data links for tactical and strategical missiles, sonar systems, underwater early warning and communication systems and training simulators.

Meteksan Defence joined IDEF 2019 as a company that has an established product range, and that has products that are already in service. Speaking at IDEF 2019 about the company’s participation in the fair with new and updated products, Selçuk ALPARSLAN, President of Meteksan Defence said: “IDEF is a reference exhibition that illustrates the level reached by the Turkish defence and aerospace sector. We are also showcasing what we have achieved to date, giving an idea to the world what type of company Meteksan Defence is by sharing hints of what we are poised to accomplish in the future. Our stand is much more crowded than in previous years. On one hand, we are showing products that have already proven themselves on the field, while, on the other, we also have on display products and solutions that are likely to have an impact in the upcoming period.  Meteksan is now transitioning from technology development to product development. We are trying to move beyond R & D to productization, marketing, and sales. By directing the capabilities and technology we have acquired from state-funded projects to areas that are currently procured from abroad, we provide solutions to meet the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces with our own resources.”

Since the last IDEF in 2017, products of Meteksan Defence, in particular, the Retinar Perimeter Surveillance Radar Family, have entered the inventories of both domestic and foreign users. The Meteksan Defence products which were showcased for the first time at IDEF 2019 include, MİLSAR which is a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) radar developed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the C-Band UAV Data Link, the KAPAN Anti-drone system, the Retinar FAR which is a new perimeter surveillance radar, the new & improved YAKAMOS 2020 sonar, the New Helicopter MİLDAR fire control radar for attack helicopters, and KEMENT which serves as the infrastructure of network-enabled operations.

KEMENT Tactical Data Link System

KEMENT, which was showcased at IDEF 2019 for the first time, is a network-based ammunition data link a system. METEKSAN developed KEMENT to provide network-enabled capabilities to SOM missiles and other cruise missiles developed by Turkey as part of network-centric warfare and to serve as the infrastructure for Turkey’s National Data Link needs. Turkey currently uses the Link-16 tactical data link system allowed by MIDS-IPO (Multifunctional Information Distribution System- International Program Office) for network-centric operations. Network-enabled operation capability allows cruises missiles, which are used to neutralize high-value targets from hundreds of kilometers away, to be launched according to a “fire and control” rather than a “fire and forget” principle. This capability greatly enhances the effectiveness of the missile and permits the updating of mission parameters. 

Serving as a special tactical data link for cruise missiles, KEMENT allows such missiles to establish communication with different friendly units as they navigate towards their target, thus allowing for changes in the missile’s mission definition according to changes in the target area. With the KEMENT system Meteksan aims to lay the groundwork for the National Tactical Data Link named T-Link by the Turkish Air Force. KEMENT was first integrated into the SOM cruise missile developed jointly by Roketsan and TÜBİTAK SAGE. The technology of the system makes a difference in terms of its bandwidth, its resistance to electronic warfare, its image transmission capability, its ability to form and manage dynamic networks, and its low weight, volume, and power consumption. Furthermore, due to its software-based design and its use of an indigenous waveform, the system also meets the special requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).

Commenting on this prospect, Selçuk ALPARSLAN said: “Although the KEMENT system was developed for cruise missiles, it harbors all the functions of a National Data Link that can be used by the Turkish Armed Forces in general. The up-to-date and flexible solution laid out by KEMENT is likely to enable its evolution into the National Data Link (T-Link) in a swift manner. Showcasing KEMENT at IDEF 2019 is a strong indication of our resolve in this regard.”

KAPAN Anti-Drone and Retinar FAR Radar Systems

The KAPAN Anti-Drone system developed by Meteksan Defence made its appearance at IDEF 2019 together with the novel Retinar FAR sensor. Perimeter surveillance radars stand out as an effective solution for the detection of drones, which are a prominent and present day asymmetrical threat, within the scope of critical infrastructure and border security applications. Using such radars as a starting point, Meteksan Defence developed the KAPAN Anti-Drone System within a short span of time using its own resources. At IDEF 2019, the KAPAN Anti-Drone System was showcased together with the new Retinar FAR radar system, which greatly enhances its performance. This version of the Retinar fields a new antenna that has been designed specifically for the surveillance of air space and for the detection of drones with high-performance hardware and special algorithms. 

The KAPAN Anti Drone System offers superior drone detection and tracking performance with a radar system and thermal cameras and allows the destruction of drones with an RF jammer and an optional laser system. Different systems have been appropriately integrated into the KAPAN Anti Drone System with standard interfaces and scalable architectures to create an effective solution against drone threats in different situations and scenarios. The Retinar FAR can detect aerial targets at longer ranges (9 km) and scan a broader area (40°), thus turning KAPAN into a more potent drone hunter. Capable of seeing farther with the Retinar FAR, the KAPAN Anti-Drone System neutralizes targeted drones through countermeasure systems provided by Meteksan Defence’s solution partners, such as jamming and laser weapon systems.

Selçuk ALPARSLAN emphasized how the KAPAN illustrates its ability to rapidly respond to newly-emerging threats: “We have developed the KAPAN Anti-Drone System as a scalable solution that can handle various missions. At IDEF 2019, we are demonstrating our ability to update the Retinar radar in line with evolving threats. We accomplished this within a period of only one year following the launch of the KAPAN system. At the various events we have joined over the past year, we have exhibited the KAPAN system equipped with different countermeasure systems, thereby demonstrating its scalability.”

C-Band UAV Data Link

After indigenously developing data links for several missile systems, Meteksan Defence rolled out an indigenous and innovative solution for the data links of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Meteksan Defence developed the C-Band UAV Data Link with its own resources. The system, which was showcased for the first time at IDEF 2019, has already completed various tests and was introduced as a fully working product that has reached the final stage of its qualification process. The UAV data link ensures direct communication between the UAV and the ground control station. The data link transfers the necessary commands from the ground control station to the UAV, while conveying status and payload-related information and feeds from the UAV to the ground control station. The most important requirements of a data link are its bandwidth, reliability, and secure uninterrupted data transfer capability. 

As a result of the know-how gained from different missile projects, the C-Band Data Link developed by Meteksan Defence for UAVs emerges as an indigenous data link solution that possesses all of these critical features. The modular system (SWAP Design) has the capability to transmit data (both downlink and uplink) at a distance of 200 km (line-of-sight) with a minimum of 10 Mbps. The C-Band UAV Data Link also has low observable Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) capability which provides protection against Electronic Warfare. The directional and non-directional antenna of the C-Band Data Link was produced by Meteksan Defence indigenously, making it possible to avoid any potential antenna procurement-related problems that may arise during serial production in the event of an embargo.

Selçuk ALPARSLAN described the C-Band Data Link as an example of Meteksan Defence’s proactive product development approach: “The data link studies we have carried out, especially within the scope of our missile projects, have granted Meteksan Defence significant experience in terms of human resources, technology, infrastructure, and the business ecosystem. We transfer this experience to areas in which we identify a need using our own resources, without waiting for an appropriate project to be announced. We are certain that our product will provide high performance, reliability, and security to our users, as a competent and competitive solution to UAV platform manufacturers.”

YAKAMOS 2020 Sonar

The YAKAMOS 2020, which was unveiled at IDEF 2019, is the new version of the YAKAMOS sonar that was developed and produced as part of Turkish Navy’s MİLGEM project, and that is currently serving commendably all over the world’s blue waters as the sonar aboard ADA-Class Corvettes. The YAKAMOS 2020 takes the YAKAMOS product family to the future, keeping pace with technological advances and evolving threats. The YAKAMOS 2020 is expected to be integrated first into I-Class Frigates. The YAKAMOS Sonar is currently serving with great effectiveness aboard ADA-Class Corvettes of the Turkish Navy. As a more compact, competent and modular system with an easily configurable software and hardware architecture, the YAKAMOS 2020 was developed as a system that will be readily adaptable to evolving technologies as well as changing acoustic environments, and one that will surpass its rivals on the global market through its superior capabilities.  Due to the enhanced efficiency of its power modules, the system is capable of operating for longer periods, while the updates to its sensor architecture enable it to detect potential threats over much greater ranges. 

The YAKAMOS 2020 has a much more efficient and improved performance thanks to its new sonar array. The YAKAMOS project was initially started as an industrialization project. The algorithm and design developed by the Turkish Naval Forces Command were industrialized by MEKETSAN. The YAKAMOS 2020 sonar incorporates the same electronic components used in the Intercept Passive Sonar (IPS) developed for the Ay Class Submarines in order to improve maintenance and serviceability. The renewed electronic systems are also retrofitted into ADA-class corvettes.

MİLSAR Synthetic Aperture Radar

Thanks to the technological knowledge acquired within the scope of the MİLDAR project, Meteksan Defence developed the MİLSAR product which was showcased for the first time at IDEF 2019. The MİLSAR was the result of a conjunction of the capabilities of Meteksan Defence and a requirement of the Turkish Armed Forces. The prototype MİLSAR with its weight, volume and power consumption is sufficiently low for the system to be a viable payload for tactical-class UAVs. The MİLSAR is a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and a ground moving target indicator (GMTI) radar. The radar provides high-resolution images in adverse weather conditions in which electro-optical sensors become ineffective. The GMTI feature, on the other hand, comes in handy for the long-term surveillance of targeted activities, which is one of the main reasons why UAVs stay in the air for many hours. However, the volume, weight, and power consumption requirements of GMTI radars generally prevents their usage in smaller UAVs. 

MİLSAR is the product of long-standing work by Meteksan Defence on radar technologies that was first launched in 2007 with the MİLDAR project. As a system developed by Meteksan Defence engineers, one of the main features that make MİLSAR stand out is its ability to be used effectively in tactical UAV-sized platforms. Based on advanced technologies and innovative architecture, MİLSAR is only 30 kg and sets itself apart by requiring only the level of power that a tactical UAV can generate. The system is also designed to be compatible with existing E/O (Electro-Optical) camera pods.

Noting that MİLSAR was developed as a solution to an emerging requirement of the Turkish Armed Forces, Selçuk ALPARSLAN said: “We allocated substantial resources on the development of millimeter-wave radar technologies, which were absent in Turkey. MİLSAR is a solution that we developed with our prior investments for newly emerging requirements. Electro-optical systems, which can be described as the principal sensors aboard UAVs, have certain weaknesses, such as their inability to function in adverse weather conditions. However, these do not apply to the MİLSARproduct. MİLSAR can even be integrated into the small-sized UAVs that cannot use other systems.”

MİLDAR Fire Control Radar

MİLDAR is a fire control radar, operating in Ka-band to support fire control capability and navigational aid for attack helicopters. As Turkey’s very first fire control radar operating in the millimeter waveband, and equipped with Target Tracking and Terrain Profiling features, the newly modified and advanced version of the Helicopter MİLDAR was showcased at IDEF 2019 with its mast-mounted configuration. Following the integration of Helicopter MİLDAR into the T129 ATAK helicopter, Meteksan Defence developed an improved version of the Helicopter MİLDAR with its own resources according to evolving user needs. MİLDAR combines its high performance with a Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) feature. The system weighs only 35 kg and it can scan, detect, locate, and classify multiple moving targets in all weather conditions up to 20 km. MİLDAR is characterized by its small size, weight and low -power consumption (SWAP) properties. 

MİLDAR rapidly detects ground/air targets and automatically tracks them. With its 360° angular scanning radius, it provides pilots with enhanced situational awareness and increases the attack helicopters’ survivability and offensive power with weapon engagement for multiple targets in the battlefield. As an optional feature, the radar can provide terrain profiling when mounted to the belly of the helicopter. MİLDAR facilitates pilots in low visibility and low altitude conditions with terrain profiling for the area over which the helicopter will navigate. MİLDAR creates a terrain profile including the terrain topology and natural/artificial obstacles over the terrain and provides a significant contribution to the pilot’s situational awareness during the low altitude flights. MİLDAR will also manage weapon engagement for RF guided missiles.

The Helicopter MİLDAR is expected to become one of the main sensors aboard the helicopter to be developed under the ATAK-II Turkey’s Heavy Attack Helicopter Project, the contract of which was signed in February 2019. Depending on the choice of the platform integrators, the system may be integrated at different locations on the helicopter. The integration of the system onto the mast, which is the configuration showcased at IDEF, is one of the most difficult locations in terms of environmental conditions, and so can be considered indicative of the system’s ability to be successfully integrated into other locations. 

Selçuk ALPARSLAN said that the new Helicopter MİLDAR is a reflection of the company’s innovativeness: “The Helicopter MİLDAR is one of the best examples of how the concepts of R&D and innovation are utilized in the defence sector. When we first started working on it, there were no other millimeter wave radars being produced in Turkey. We not only developed these technologies indigenously but also ensured that the very first version of the Helicopter MİLDAR possessed all the functions of a modern fire control radar. In time, evolving user needs meant that different physical dimensions and integration options had to be considered. This led us to apply our previously developed technologies to different architecture and to roll out a solution that precisely met the needs of our users. In its renewed form, we anticipate that the Helicopter MİLDAR will come to occupy an important place in the future of attack helicopters.”

The Intercept Passive Sonar (IPS)

The Intercept Passive Sonar (IPS) Development Project was initiated by Meteksan to develop and produce two different intercept sonars as part of the TÜBİTAK SAVTAG project agreement signed between TÜBİTAK BİLGEM and Meteksan Defence. Within the scope of the contract, Meteksan designed and produced the onboard electronic units with real-time signal processing software and cylindrical hydrophone arrays that operate in the 1-100 kHz band. The production model of the Intercept Passive Sonar (IPS) system was exhibited for the first time at IDEF 2019 at the Meteksan Defence booth. The Intercept Passive Sonar (IPS) has its own operator console to display detection results and provide user input. In addition to its own acoustic unit, the IPS System can integrate into the acoustic sensor array of the submarine, and it can stream, analyze and display data from both sonar arrays simultaneously in real time.

The IPS is a completely indigenous design and produced from beginning to end in line with the indispensable national and domestic design and production objectives of Turkey. Thanks to its innovative and unique technology, the IPS provides much more accurate results than its counterparts. Designed in coordination with the Turkish Naval Forces Command the IPS features an operator-friendly interface and is currently integrated into Turkish Navy Ay Class (Type 209-1200) submarines. Meteksan aims to use the knowledge and experience gained from the IPS project in the Intercept Detection and Ranging Sonar (IDRS) development project and similar modernization projects that may be initiated in the future. Equipping the surface and/or underwater combat platforms of the Turkish Naval Forces with national systems is critical for both the survival and the life cycle logistic support of these platforms