Turkish Air Force Air Transport Capability

“Front Runners of Military Operations”

Issue 106 - May 2021

The Turkish Air Force acquired air transport capability with the C-47 Dakotas procured in 1946. In a short time, the C-47 squadron expanded with the addition of these aircraft granted by the US and a total of 110 C-47s were included in the inventory and the C-47 remained in active military service until 1998. These aircraft were used by a unit named the Liaison and Transport Group at the outset. In 1948, this unit became a separate unit called the “Air Transport Regiment.” In this way, all Air Transport activities required by the Turkish Air Force were gathered under a single roof.  

In 1951 Air Transport Regiments such as these were renamed as the 11th (Etimesgut/Ankara) and 12th (Erkilet/Kayseri) Air Transport Main Base Command. In 1959, two C-54D Skymasters were included in the inventory, yet the aircraft used for long-range transport missions were retired in 1973. In the 1960s, a need to build-up Air Transport and Airborne Troop capabilities emerged due to the conflict in Cyprus. To fulfill this need, five C-130E Hercules were procured in 1964 and the “Tactical Air Transport Squadron Command” was founded with existing aircraft. One of these aircraft crashed in 1968 during a training flight, and three additional C-130Es were procured in 1971-1974. Again, to increase the Air Transport and Airborne Unit capabilities, twenty C-160D Transall aircraft were procured during a time when the German Air Force was removing surplus property and these aircraft were delivered to the Turkish Air Force in 1971.