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Turkish Defence Industry Review - March & April 2019 News

As we approach the IDEF’19 Fair, we have closely followed the recent developments in the Turkish Defence Industry in March & April and reviewed the latest developments that have occurred over the last two months

ARES Shipyard to Build 105 Patrol Boats for the Coast Guard 

ARES Shipyard signed a contract with the Presidency of Defence Industries for the construction of 105 patrol boats on February 19, 2019. The patrol boats will be deployed on a range of missions including combating illegal migration, search, and rescue (SAR), anti-human trafficking, and maritime security and safety. The first of the vessels is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020.

The signing ceremony of the project was held at the SSB headquarters in Ankara with the participation of the President of Defence Industries Prof. Dr. İsmail DEMİR, Deputy Minister of Interior Mr. Mehmet ERSOY, Commander of the Turkish Coast Guard Rear Admiral (LH) Ahmet KENDİR and company representatives.

The decision on the Project was taken at the Defence Industry Executive Committee chaired by President Tayyip Erdoğan on October 2018. The project is planned to last for six years and The ARES 35 FPB boats, which will be produced for the Coast Guard Command for the first time, will be used all inland waters and coastal areas of Turkey.

HÜRKUŞ-C launched TOGAN for the first time 

Domestic HÜRKUŞ-C aircraft was successfully launched TOGAN ammunition for the first time. The first successful launch of light and low-cost TOGAN ammunition, developed by TÜBİTAK SAGE, was announced on the Official TUSAŞ/TAI Twitter account on March 30. During the test, four air-launched 81mm TOGAN mortar ammunition dropped from the underwing hardpoints on the HÜRKUŞ-C aircraft. This accomplishment proved that HÜRKUŞ-C will now be able to carry out close air support (CAS) missions. With the acquisition of TOGAN capability, the operational cost of the HÜRKUŞ-C is aimed to be further reduced. 

Under the HÜRKUŞ-C Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft mass production project, 18 aircraft were ordered for the Turkish Land Forces Command and Gendarmerie General Command. The armed HÜRKUŞ-C, which will provide close air support to the Gendarmerie units in the operation areas, was painted in matte black in February at the request of gendarmerie pilots.

The First OMTAS Missile Fired from KAPLAN STA Hit Its Target!

FNSS successfully conducted the first firing test of the OMTAS missile from the Kaplan Anti-Tank platform on February 13. The test firing was carried out as part of the Anti-Tank Vehicle (ATV) Project while the qualification tests of the two different wheeled and tracked anti-tank platforms (Pars and Kaplan) was still ongoing.

FNSS conducted the firing test after completing the integration of OMTAS missile into the Anti-Tank Remote Controlled Turret (ARCT) with the support of Roketsan. The company also integrated a KORNET missile into the same turret last year and successfully carried out firing tests. Project teams from both the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and the Turkish Land Forces Command were present during the firing tests carried out in Karapınar, Konya on 13 February 2019. The KAPLAN and PARS deliveries are scheduled to start this year following the completion of qualification tests for both vehicles.

The Anti-Tank Vehicle (ATV) contract between the SSB and FNSS Defence Systems was signed on June 27, 2016 and entered into force on October 14, 2016. Within the scope of the project FNSS will deliver 184 ATVs based on KAPLAN tracked armored vehicle and 76 ATVs based on PARS 4x4 Wheeled Armored Vehicle (WAV). 80 of the KAPLAN ATVs will be equipped with KORNET-E ATGMs and the remaining 104 will be equipped with Roketsan’s MIZRAK-O/OMTAS ATGMs. All the 76 PARS 4x4 ATVs will be equipped with Roketsan’s MIZRAK-O/OMTAS ATGMs. 

Aircraft to be Fitted with Stand-off Jammers Arrive in Turkey 

On March 15th, the aircraft to be fitted with airborne stand-off jammers as part of the HAVA SOJ project has arrived in Turkey. Upon inspecting the aircraft, President of Defence Industries İsmail DEMİR said, “We aim that the HAVA SOJ will be more advanced than the other systems operational around the world.”

Turkey has received the first two Bombardier Global 6000 business jets to be fitted with HAVA SOJ Electronic Warfare System developed by Aselsan. The HAVA SOJ, also known as the Remote Electronic Support/Electronic Attack Ability in Air Platform Project, was initiated by the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) to develop electronic warfare special mission aircraft.

President of Defence Industries İsmail DEMİR, as well as the representatives of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ/TAI), Aselsan, Air Forces Command, and Bombardier, inspected the aircraft at TAI facilities. 

Receiving information about the aircraft and the systems to be fitted, İsmail DEMİR said, “We have taken concrete steps toward the implementation of these systems which had been envisioned and planned for a long time. We aim that the HAVA SOJ will be more advanced than the other systems operational around the world.”

The initial contract for the HAVA SOJ (Remote Electronic Support/Electronic Attack Ability in Air Platform) project to develop an electronic warfare special mission aircraft was signed between the SSB and Aselsan and was later transferred to Aselsan-Turkish Aerospace joint venture.

Under the project, Aselsan-Turkish Aerospace will develop four HAVA SOJ systems and deliver the same to the Turkish Air Force Command (TAFC) between 2023 and 2027. The system will be able to detect, identify, locate, jam, and spoof enemy communication systems and radars so that they cannot be used against friendly elements particularly in cross-border operations. Thus, the Turkish fighter aircraft can safely operate without any EW threat. 

The HAVA SOJ system, which has superior technological features than the Land-Based Remote Electronic Support/Electronic Attack (KARA SOJ) system, will combine various electronic warfare capabilities with additional critical mission components.

All of the electronic warfare mission systems to be integrated into HAVA SOJ Systems will be nationally developed and produced in Turkey. The SSB also plans to complete the modification and certification process of commercial aircraft in Turkey with national resources. The HAVA SOJ project demonstrates the outstanding electronic warfare capabilities of the Turkish defence industry considering only a few companies has the ability to accomplish such a formidable project in the world. The project will make a significant contribution to Turkey’s goal of becoming an “information and technology-exporting country” thanks to the high export potential of the product. Regarded as the ultimate point in technology, the HAVA SOJ system will be a monumental step toward the goal of minimizing foreign dependence on defence systems when it enters the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) inventory.

Ukraine Receives Bayraktar TB2 UAV

On March 20th, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced on social media that Ukraine received the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) purchased from Turkey. Stating the advanced capabilities of Turkish UAVs, “Modern UAVs Bayraktar TB2 made in Turkey are already in Ukraine,” Poroshenko said on Twitter. President Poroshenko also shared information about the recent agreement to purchase Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles for the Ukrainian military.

Stating that they continue to strengthen the Ukrainian army with modern weapons and equipment, Poroshenko stressed that the purchase agreement is part of a partnership program between Ukraine and NATO member states. Addressing the agreement between Ukrspetsexport and Baykar Makina, “The next step of the program is the creation of a Ukrainian-Turkish joint enterprise in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia that will produce components for modern unmanned systems.” added Poroshenko. According to the agreement, Baykar Makina will produce six Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles and deliver them to Ukraine within a year. Along with the UAVs, three ground control stations and other equipment will be delivered as well.

New National ANKA-AKSUNGUR UAV Makes Its First Flight 

On March 21th, Turkey’s new twin-engine ANKA-AKSUNGUR unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with high load capacity successfully completed its first flight. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) introduced the ANKA-AKSUNGUR UAV, previously known as Anka-2, for the first time on March 20. The high load capacity UAV successfully carried out a 4-hour 20-minute test flight using the automatic landing and take-off feature. The twin-engine ANKA-AKSUNGUR unmanned aerial vehicle is expected to perform long-term missions up to 40,000 ft. 

TUSAŞ had launched the Anka-2 Project with its own resources to develop a new UAV with a higher payload capacity. The twin-engine medium-altitude long-endurance UAV will perform reconnaissance, surveillance, and combat missions. The UAV will be able to carry up to 750kg of useful load. ANKA-AKSUNGUR will be powered by the indigenous PD170 turbo diesel engines developed by TUSAŞ Engine Industry (TEI) under the Operative UAV Engine Development Project.

Innovative and High-Tech – Turkish Helicopters will Utilize Lasers to Avoid Obstacles

On April 4th, The Presidency of Defence Industries and Meteksan Defence signed an agreement for the Helicopter Obstacle Detection System (HETS) Project. The project was launched to provide aircraft, especially helicopters, with a fiber-laser-based collision avoidance system to detect natural or man-made obstacles in low-altitude flights. Natural (trees) and man-made obstacles (powerlines, poles, settlements) pose a risk for helicopters during flight, especially in nighttime conditions.

Obstacle Detection technologies for such purpose are divided into active and passive types. The active detection typically utilizes sensors such as radar/LIDAR to increase situational awareness, while passive systems use software-based solutions. Currently, Turkish aircraft use a passive obstacle detection software based on the “Map Obstacle Database” created by General Directorate of Mapping (GDM). So far, 457 tablets, which include all the obstacle and elevation data across the country, were delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces to be used in various types of helicopters.

The aim of Active HETS Project, signed between the SSB and Meteksan Defence, is to develop innovative and advanced technologies that can operate without an obstacle database. With the system, aircraft, especially helicopter platforms, will be able to navigate safely in low altitude flight conditions. The system detects wires/obstacles using an indigenously developed eye-safe laser and alerts the pilots in advance with audio-visual warnings to prevent collisions. In the later stages of the project, Meteksan aims to provide interoperability with the current Passive HETS system to create an integrated structure with high resolution, wide scanning angle, and high precision. Within the scope of the project, it is aimed to develop a national light-weight system with low power consumption which can be integrated into different platforms, especially the new generation multi-role helicopter. 

With the development of this system, Turkey will acquire a critical LIDAR/LADAR infrastructure that can be used in a wide range of applications such as autonomous and unmanned systems. The domestic laser transceiver unit to be used in HETS project was developed as part of the “Fiber Laser Development Project” between the Presidency of Defence Industries and Meteksan. The prototype system has successfully detected a 1-centimeter diameter power transmission line over one kilometer.

ASW Shield Against Submarines 

On March 23, Aselsan continues to work on equipping the Tuzla Class New Type Patrol Boats with the National Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Rocket and Launcher System. According to the 2018 annual report published by Aselsan, the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Rocket and Launcher System was integrated into the 4 New Type Patrol Boats commissioned by the Turkish Naval Forces command in 2012. Under the National ASW Rocket and Launcher System Procurement Project, the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and ROKETSAN signed the contract in the last quarter of 2018. As part of the contract, 12 ASW Rocket Launcher Systems including related equipment will be produced by Aselsan and will be integrated into the Tuzla Class Patrol Boats. The company will also provide the necessary training for the ASW system.

Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Rocket and Launcher System can be integrated into different types and sizes of naval platforms or fixed positions on land to protect critical bases and ports from submarines. The ASW rocket launching system addresses the most sophisticated of modern submarine threats, thanks to its automatic engagement capability and the control of detonation depth inherent in its advanced time-delay fuse and the insensitive characteristics of both warhead and rocket motor.

The launcher can be automatically laid on target using data from a variety of shipborne sensors (sonar, gyro, GPS, meteorological, etc.) and can prosecute targets at ranges of 500-2,000m and 15-300m depth. The stabilized launcher can fire rockets in single or salvo modes from sealed launching tubes that provide environmental protection for the munitions. The tubes, which can be manhandled by two individuals, have a shelf life of 10 years.

The ASW rocket has insensitive (IM) high explosive warhead and IM motor which are desired in modern naval weapon systems. The ASW Launching System (developed by Aselsan) has stabilization, automatic and manual launcher laying capabilities. The Fire Control System can process the navigation and target data obtained from the naval platform.

Turkish Paratroopers to Train with Unique Simulator 

On April 11th, Hezarfen Parachute Simulator, which allows paratroopers to be trained in a virtual reality environment, was delivered to the Turkish Land Forces Command with the coordination of Presidency of Defence Industries. Developed by Havelsan, Hezarfen became the first parachute simulator to enter the inventory of the security forces as domestic and national production. The simulator enables the users to experience real-life scenarios and emergency situations, from jumping to parachute opening and descending to the targeted point. 

Hezarfen Parachute Simulator, which has superior features compared to similar systems, aims to minimize the foreign dependence in this field. Attracting a great deal of attention in both national and international events, the simulator is also expected to bring export success in the coming period. The Hezarfen Parachute Simulator offers a cost-effective solution that increases its users’ level of training, planning, and readiness within a repeatable and safe environment in a short time.

The system allows real-time development of vital capabilities during different weather conditions, emergencies, and variable winds. It aims to improve the user’s actual performance by using a high-resolution database and virtual reality. The Hezarfen Parachute Simulator also increases operational success by providing information about terrain conditions.

By using virtual reality environment, the system aims to lower training costs. The Hezarfen Parachute Simulator allows its users to repeat the parachute training at anytime and anywhere, regardless of the outside climate and weather conditions. Moreover, the system records the maneuvers, controls, and methods of the personnel, enabling further evaluation by the instructors.

Unique Cannon for T129 ATAK Helicopters 

On April 10th, the Presidency of Defence Industries launched a project to design and develop 20 mm three-barrel rotary cannons with national and domestic resources. The “20 mm Cannon Development Project”, which is part of the second 100-Day Action Plan, was signed between the Presidency of Defence Industries and TR Mechatronic Systems.

The project aims to design and develop the 20 mm cannon, which is currently being utilized in T129 ATAK helicopters, with national and domestic resources. During the first phase of the project, 34-unit 20 mm cannons will be produced, including four prototypes and following the qualification process the mass production activities will be started in accordance with the possible requirements.

Under the project, all critical subsystems and components of the cannon will be developed with domestic capabilities. System-level qualification activities for the four prototypes are planned to be completed within 30 months. When completed, the system is expected to be used on different land, air, and sea platforms.

Aselsan Nationalizes Infrared Detectors 

On April 7th, Turkish Defence Giant Aselsan acquired the capability to produce infrared detectors that can be used in various platforms such as reconnaissance & surveillance, heat-seekers, targeting systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and electro-optical systems of the National Combat Aircraft.

Turkey’s advanced technology center Aselsan recorded significant progress in the development, production, and integration of infrared detectors which are the main components of the high-performance military system.

Infrared detector technology incorporates the most advanced techniques of science and technology that emerge from long and comprehensive research. Studies in this area provide effective and superior results, often paving the way for the development of other critical technologies. Owned by only a handful of developed countries and manufacturers, this technology is carefully protected, and its presence is considered as a sign of sophistication and superiority.

Infrared detectors, one of the main components of high-performance military systems, can also be used in different civilian applications. Countries with this technology are more advantageous than other countries against threats during day or night, especially in adverse weather conditions such as dust, smoke, and fog. In this context, infrared detector technology can change the balance of power between countries.

Due to the advantages and superiority of having this technology, countries are not willing to transfer their knowledge and technology to other countries, instead, they sell their infrared detectors as products. The procurement of infrared detectors as products brings along restrictions such as high costs and export permits. Any system manufactured by using an imported infrared detector is subject to authorization when it is exported to another country. Such situations make it necessary to develop infrared detector technology with national capabilities.

Thanks to its dedicated work for many years, Aselsan acquired the capability to domestically produce this technology, eliminating the foreign dependency of the infrared detectors. Between April 30-May 3, Aselsan will exhibit its latest products and current capabilities regarding this technology at the 14th International Defence Industry Fair IDEF’19.

Combat Management System ADVENT CMS Accomplished Factory Acceptance Tests 

On March 31, Within the scope of the MILGEM Combat System Procurement Project, the Factory Acceptance Tests of the New Generation National Combat Management System ADVENT CMS, developed by ARMERKOM and Havelsan were completed following an intensive testing process.

Under the project carried out by the Defence Industry Presidency (SSB), approximately 6 million lines of code were written by Turkish engineers. As a candidate for being one of the world’s most advanced combat management systems, ADVENT CMS is planned to be used in all the Turkish warships that are still under construction and will be constructed in the future.

The ADVENT CMS will be installed for the first time on the newly built TCG Kınalıada, the 4th ship of the MİLGEM class. The Combat Management System will also be used in Turkey’s largest military vessel, the Multipurpose Amphibious Assault Ship TCG Anadolu, which is expected to be launched in the coming months. 

The ADVENT SYS system will allow multiple units in the ship to jointly use weapons and sensors. It will enable the navy to make more precise and faster decisions in case of sudden reactions. In addition, Navy elements will be more coordinated with the new generation Network Assisted Data Integrated system.

Aselsan to Equip F-16s and TF-X with New Domestic Radar 

On March 24th, A protocol was signed between the SSB, the Air Force Command and Aselsan for the development of multi-function the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) nose radar to modernize the radars of the F-16 aircraft in the Air Force Command inventory.

According to the Aselsan annual report, activities for radar systems were carried out in cooperation with universities and domestic solution partners by using design, production and test infrastructures at the company’s Gölbaşı Radar and Electronic Technology Center. 

In the first phase of the project, the “F-16 AESA Nose Radar Development Project Phase-1 Protocol” was signed between the Presidency of Defence Industries and Aselsan, successfully launching the program which was part of the second 100-day Action plan.

The radar to be developed by Aselsan with its own resources will be able to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground tasks such as SAR, target detection, tracking, and precise tracking which are critical for F-16 aircraft.

Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) is a type of Phased Array Radar that acts as a transmitter and receiver with numerous small solid-state transceivers (TRMs). Advanced Active Phased Array Radars are able to propagate wavelengths over a wider frequency range compared to Passive Electronically Scanned Array (PESA) radars, making them difficult to detect from background noise. Aselsan has been working on radar systems with AESA technology for a long time. Aselsan plans to complete the AESA radar for F-16 jets by 2021 and the TF-X National Combat Aircraft by 2023.

Another Success for the HISAR-A Missile

On March 20th, Turkey’s first domestic national air defence system HİSAR-A scored a 100% success rate against a target aircraft flying fast at a high altitude during its first vertical firing test from a missile launching system. 

HİSAR Projects are launched by the Presidency of Defence Industries to meet the air defence needs of Turkish Armed Forces with local and national resources. HİSAR missiles are being developed indigenously to protect military bases, ports, facilities, and other national strategic assets against aerial threats. The system can defeat airborne threats such as fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. 

Representatives from the Presidency of Defence Industries, Turkish Armed Forces, Aselsan and Roketsan attended the test launch of the HİSAR-A air defence system in the city of Aksaray. During the test, the missile was vertically fired from the launch system for the first time and successfully demonstrated its thrust-vectoring, midcourse guidance (INS-RF/Data Link), target tracking, and infrared terminal guidance (IIR Seeker-EO/IR) capabilities. 

Developed by Aselsan and Roketsan as the first national and domestic air defence missile system in Turkey, HİSAR Project aims to acquire critical air defence technologies and develop indigenous missile systems. With the tests carried out so far, critical capabilities of the missile such as vertical launch, autonomous engagement/firing, and terminal guidance were tested. HİSAR-A has a range of 15km at sea level while the HİSAR-O air defence missile can engage targets up to 25km. The missiles feature dual-pulse solid propellant rocket motor, midcourse inertial navigation, data link, and imaging infrared seeker for terminal guidance. 

The Presidency of Defence Industries plans to deliver the HİSAR-A (Low Altitude) in 2021 and HİSAR-O (Medium Altitude) in 2022 to the Turkish Armed Forces. Furthermore, Aselsan, Roketsan, and TÜBİTAK SAGE business partnership continue their studies on the SİPER project, which was initiated to develop an indigenous long-range air and missile defence system.

Turkish F-16 jets Equipped with Advanced SPEWS-II Electronic Warfare system 

On March 7th, the advanced electronic warfare system SPEWS-II designed by Aselsan with the support of British defence & aerospace company BAE Systems for the F-16 Block 50C aircraft of Turkey has successfully completed tests and entered service.

The SPEWS-II Electronic Warfare (EW) internally mounted self-protection system project was launched by the Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) to provide EW protection in hostile zones for Turkish Air Force F-16 aircraft. So far in the project, 21 of the aircraft have been equipped with the system following the successfully completed tests. The SPEWS-II system detects radar signals coming from homing missiles with its radar warning receiver and warns the pilot. The system’s electronic countermeasure capabilities allow it to confuse the signals that enable missiles to find planes and to deceive the missiles by sending signals showing the aircraft in different locations. 

The AN/ALQ-178 (V)5+ is an advanced, internally mounted self-protection system specifically designed for the F-16 Block 50C aircraft. Each system requirement has been verified with the full participation of the TurAF (Turkish Air Force) and the performance of the SPEWS-II system has been tested on TurAF F-16 Block 50C aircraft. Within the scope of the project, 60 EW self-protection systems are planned to be used in F-16 Block 50C aircraft