Naval Air Command and Ongoing Naval Aviation Projects

Naval Air Commander Rear Admiral (LH) Alper YENİEL

Date: Issue 113 - April 2022

The Naval Air Command  has become a rapidly developing capability of our Naval Forces. The Naval Air Command continues to serve with 9 different types of 64 aircraft stationed at its main base at Cengiz Topel and other bases in Çanakkale, Dalaman, and Geçitkale. Currently, we have 2 P-72 and 6 P-235 Marine Patrol Aircraft (3rd and 4th planes were delivered in December 2021, and the last 2 planes will enter the inventory in 2022), 3 C-72 Maritime Utility Aircraft, 4 TB-20 Trainers, 24 Seahawk ASW/ASuW Helicopters (equipped with AQS-18 and HelRas Sonars), and 9 AB-212 Helicopters in our inventory. We also operate a total of 16 UAV/UCAVs, which we can describe as force multipliers, including 9 BAYRAKTAR TB2s (it has been officially confirmed for the first time that 1 UAV was lost, there were 10 before. On the other hand, according to the Turkish Naval Forces website, there are 8 TB2s), 6 ANKA, and 1 AKSUNGUR (TCB881, which is the third AKSUNGUR prototype. The 2nd AKSUNGUR TCB882 was expected to be delivered in December 2021). 

So what does the Naval Air Command do? The Naval Air Command carries out all training activities, especially Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare in NATO Exercises, including our National Exercises, Sea Wolf, and Blue Homeland. It also performs the prevention of illegal immigration, medical evacuation, and Search and Rescue (SAR) activities. As part of our ongoing projects, in addition to the MELTEM-I and MELTEM-II Projects and the CASA CN235 aircraft in our inventory since the 2000s, our first P-72 Aircraft entered service at the Cengiz Topel Naval Air Station on December 14, 2020, under the MELTEM-III Project. We currently have 2 P-72 aircraft. In addition to these aircraft, 2 more aircraft will enter the inventory by the end of this year, and 3 more next year. With a total of 12 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, we will become a significant power, especially in our region.