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Firing Test and Evaluation Centre (ATDM) is Operational

Issue 67

Roketsan has been conducting flight tests of rocket, missile and weapon systems during all phases of design, development, validation, qualification, and production for more than 20 years and is not only a pioneer but also a leader in its field. Roketsan has successfully completed flight-testing of more than 4000 munitions of varying types and calibers, to date. From a strategically standpoint, it is vitally important to be able to meet the increasing requirements of flight tests both in content and in numbers with the latest technology and resources available. Data obtained from this time and effort consuming tests guides design and development process.

In a move to be able to conduct more precise and reliable flight testing of munitions, weapon systems and associated platforms developed locally in Turkey, the ‘Firing Test and Evaluation Centre (ATDM)’ Project was launched by the Ministry of National Defense (MoND), NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and Roketsan in 2011. In this context and in keeping with the aspirations of Turkey to develop rocket and missile technologies, the ATDM has been designed to meet the flight-testing requirements of not only Roketsan, but also other local and international defense industrial entities. Situated in Karapınar, Konya the Test Centre was inaugurated by Prime Minister Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu and the then Commander of the Turkish Land Forces General Hulusi Akar (The Chief of General Staff till 30th August 2015) on March 24, 2015 at a high level event hosted by the Minister of National Defense. With the ATDM now fully operational, Turkey has attained world standards in conducting highly precise measurements in flight safety and data collection, assessment and security by means of latest methods and techniques.

Equipped with firing platforms, a command and control system with an integrated data collection and analyses centre (TRCC), a fiber-optic communications infrastructure, mobile long range tracking radar systems and optical tracking systems in addition to various auxiliary equipment necessary to support flight testing as well as a logistical infrastructure, the ATDM in Karapınar is capable of carrying out three different kinds of flight testing simultaneously.

Furthermore, the ATDM is to be complemented additionally with a mobile command and control center, telemetry ground stations and microwave as well as satellite communication systems in the near future.

Technical Characteristics and Capabilities of ATDM Systems

Command and Control Centre (TRCC):

The Test Range Command & Control (TRCC) Centre has capabilities of real time communications with tracking equipment via firing platforms, creating guidance/orientation information by data fusion, instant viewing and recording of all data, firing simulation as well as data analyses and reporting. In cases of loss of tracking during flight testing, data provided by the TRCC still allows the systems to be guided, thus minimizing data loss. All data received during flight tests are collected and archived at a single site. Furthermore, all data and images collected from monitoring equipment are broadcast live to select observers on giant screens on the viewing floor of the central building.

Flight simulations are conducted at the TRCC Centre before actual tests in a move to determine the positioning of the test safety bands and the measurement equipment. Figure 4 shows a sample flight simulation.

The ATDM is able to conduct simultaneous flight-testing by communicating with the three separate tests platforms. As a result of this capability, the ATDM is able to respond speedily to the flight-testing requirements of different projects and/or institutions. Figure 5 depicts data collected from three different live firing tests conducted simultaneously.

Data Fusion at the TRCC Centre:

Ballistic information produced by tracking equipment (i.e. time, position, speed, acceleration, angle, etc.) are relayed to the TRCC Centre on a real-time basis. Using data fusion and filtering methods, the TRCC Centre produces the most accurate trajectory information and dispatches it to the tracking equipment as guidance information when necessary.

The operator of tracking equipment who, for any reason, loses track of the system, activates the guidance steering mode to receive the guidance information produced by the TRCC Centre, enters the location of the target into the system and continues tracking after getting back on the target. All this takes less than 10 ms, thus preventing any potential data loss and maximizing effectivity of the test equipment.

Test Measurement Equipment:

The ATDM is equipped with cutting edge technology systems such as:

Tracking Radar Systems,

Multi-Sensor Platform (Integrated Radar and Optical Tracker Systems),

Electro-Optical Tracking Systems,

High Speed Camera Systems,

Ground Meteorological Systems,

Low Altitude Meteorological Systems,

High Altitude Meteorological System,

Live Video and Audio Transmission System,

Muzzle Velocity Radar,

Laser Range and Angle Finder Systems,

Portable Conditioning Chamber,

D-GPS.

The measuring equipment has been activated to operate simultaneously with the TRCC. With the commissioning of additional measuring equipment expected soon, the testing and measurement capability of the ATDM will increase further. All test equipment are transportable and can be operated either independently or integrated with the command and control center. Figure 7 shows the layout of the equipment as set up for the Karapınar Firing, Test and Evaluation Group (FTEG/ATDG) Command.

ATDM Practices:

The testing equipment and the test infrastructure implemented for the ATDM were introduced an international audience during the IDEF ‘15 Defense Industry Fair as per the request of the Turkish Ministry of National Defense (MoND). In line with requests from national and international official and private agencies, discussions are currently underway towards the optimum utilization of the Centre’s capabilities to provide flight test services. The ATDM infrastructure has successfully been used in the flight-testing of Low/Medium Altitude Air Defense Missile design (HİSAR Projects) and surface-to-surface guided missile, enabling valuable data collection. Separately, additional requests have been received towards the feasibility of utilizing the resources and capabilities of the ATDM for the firing training of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) as well as testing of new ordnance designs.

The Turkish Armed Forces, from time to time, conduct firing training at various test ranges abroad to meet the training requirements of certain ordnance in their inventory. With the ATDM testing infrastructure fully operational, it is now possible to meet such requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces through local means. One such case, under the coordination and organization of the Turkish MoND, was witness to both the Turkish Naval and Air Forces, conducting live-fire training utilizing the test equipment capability and means of the ATDM in September 2015.

During the live firing training of the Turkish Navy, tracking radar Systems, radar-optronic and electro-optical tracking systems and high speed cameras recorded ballistic data on the position, time, speed and acceleration as well as visual info on the infrared (IR) and visible wavelengths for both the missile and the target platform. Thus, the utilization of the Turkish ATDM infrastructure means and capabilities, has not only led to considerable savings in time, costs and risk factors, but has also provided added value. From now on, it will be possible to utilize the means and capabilities of the ATDM towards the training and flight-testing of different munitions and weapon systems in the inventory of the Turkish Navy, which has hitherto not been possible as a result of the inadequacy of local capabilities.

In a move to better understand the capabilities of the ATDM, Roketsan undertook the flight-testing of a new munitions currently in the design phase. In September of 2015, several missile live firings were realized from varying aircraft and along with ballistic data including position, time, speed and acceleration, visual information in IR and visible wavelengths were also recorded.

This demonstration has successfully proven that the testing infrastructure of the ATDM will be able to carry out the flight-testing of future generation air-to-air munitions. In this way, live firing training and testing requirements of munitions to be developed for or currently existing in the inventory of the Turkish Air Forces can easily and reliably be met via accumulation of all the necessary data by the ATDM.

As a result, testing equipment already procured or yet to be procured under the ATDM programs will actively be used in the flight-testing of indigenous products currently in development or to be developed by the Turkish Defense Industry.

Dual Pulse Motor Live Firing Tests Successfully Completed

Roketsan successfully launched the Ballistic Test Missile of the HİSAR-A, the National Low Altitude Air Defense Missile, powered by a dual pulse motor, at the Aksaray Test Range, in June 2015. With this test, design and development of indigenous HİSAR Missiles continues in line with the program milestones.

HİSAR Missiles, designed to meet the low and medium altitude air defense requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), will be equipped with dual pulse motor technology that is quite rare in the world. It involves two separate rocket motors that can be ignited independently, encased in a single motor housing.

Air defense missiles loose their effectiveness considerably (particularly in terms of velocity and maneuverability) as they approach the limits of their effective range, thus providing air threats a greater potential for evasion. With use of dual-pulse thrust capability and smart algorithms, the HİSAR Missiles ignite their secondary motor as they approach their target, thus allowing for increased effectiveness during the end game.

HİSAR Missiles are distinguished from their counterparts not only as a result of this complex dual pulse motor technology but also the resulting rarity of application. Under the HİSAR projects, the development of the innovative and complex dual pulse motor technology and the task of implementing this on an air defense missile are being realized together.

During the live firing tests conducted by Roketsan in June 2015, the first ever-dual pulse motor missile of Turkey, HİSAR-A successfully separated from the launcher following ignition of the first pulse motor. The mid-flight ignition of the second pulse motor and the pre-programmed maneuvers under the control of its on-board autopilot were performed successfully.

The tests mark a major milestone for Turkey, as the country now joins the ranks of a handful of nations capable of producing this technology. The aim is to ensure that when series production of the national air defense missiles with dual pulse motor capabilities start in 2021, they are one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world.

Approaching its future with certainty, Roketsan is concentrating all of its abilities towards continuation of successful accomplishments.

Roketsan and Lockheed Martin Back Together Again for SOM-J

At the DSEI ‘15 Show in London, Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed a cooperation agreement towards the integration of the New Generation Air-to-surface Stand-off Missile SOM-J on the new generation F-35 aircraft’s internal weapons bay.

The contract enables the companies to move forward with their Technical Assistance Agreement, thus making the New Generation Air-to-surface Stand-off Missile SOM-J available to international customers flying the F-35. SOM-J integration on the F-35 is scheduled for the Block 4 configuration. In the first phase, flight-testing will be conducted on F-16 aircraft of the Turkish Air Forces.

Speaking at the ceremony, Frank St. John, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (LM MFC) underlined that the SOM-J integration on the F-35 will enable pilots in operational flights to engage targets from extended ranges while maintaining the stealth capabilities of the aircraft.

Speaking on behalf of Roketsan, Chairman of the Board Emin Alpman, pointed out that the contract signing and subsequent approval of the Technical Assistance Agreement will further strengthen cooperation between the two companies. Alpman also noted that the SOM-J integration on the F-35 will significantly increase the export potential of the missile to friendly and allied countries.

Development of the SOM missile began in 2006 which then entered service with the Turkish Air Forces in 2011. The SOM-J is a new version of the subsonic SOM Missile Family, with a 500lb warhead and range of over 100 nm. The SOM-J Missile uses the Global Positioning System as its primary guidance and is aided by inertial, terrain-referenced and image-based navigation systems, in addition to its imaging infrared seeker.