TurAF Displayed TASMO/ASFAO Capabilities in Tiger-Claw Drill

Minister of National Defense Hulusi AKAR, accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar GÜLER, Land Forces Commander General Ümit DÜNDAR, Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan KÜÇÜKAKYÜZ and Naval Forces Commander Admiral Adnan ÖZBAL went to Aksaz Naval Base Command on December 22, 2020 to follow the Tiger-Claw military drill which was carried out under the control and management of the Air Defense Command and conducted by Combat Air Force Command and Joint Air Operation Center Command.

Tarih: Issue 104 - February 2021

Minister AKAR and TAF Superiors, welcomed by Fleet Commander Admiral Ercüment TATLIOĞLU and other officials at the Command, then went to the Southern Task Group Command Base Defense Operation Center and received a briefing on the operation.

Addressing the personnel followed by the briefing, Minister AKAR stated that the Naval Forces successfully fulfilled all the requirements with the strength from its glorious history and that it will keep doing that in the future as well.

Stating that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has determinedly fulfilled all the requirements to ensure national sovereignty, independence and the security, which is one of the fundamental duties of the TAF, AKAR underlined that they stand for political solutions to all problems in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus within the framework of dialogue, negotiations and good neighborly relations. Minister AKAR said the following:

“We said we are all set for whatever needs to be done. We said the same yesterday and we are at the same point today. We say all such problems can be solved through talks and negotiations, and that we are ready for dialogue to resolve them. We say we are ready for exploratory talks and are willing to hold negotiations within the frame of confidence building measures and also for the technical talks as agreed with the Secretary General of NATO and our President. Unfortunately, our neighbor is extremely slow and reluctant in this regard, but on the other hand makes unrealistic claims and demands, especially through the press, and continues to distort reality.”

Minister AKAR continued: “What is our neighbor doing? Our neighbor has issued a total of 46 NAVTEX training sites within three months and declared a total of 22 exercise areas since October 1, 2020 in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. But they only used two of them. I would like to reiterate once again that these are quite the opposite of good neighborly relations.”

Pointing to problems in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey, AKAR said, “Greece's effort to show that the problem is in a way between the EU and Turkey is completely contrary to facts. If there are problems, those are between Turkey and Greece. Greece is trying to make these problems as if they are between Turkey and the EU. This is absolutely incorrect, it is a wasted effort.”

AKAR said that everybody knows Greece’s claim of 6 miles of territorial waters 10 nautical miles of airspace is against the rules of international law and added, “There are agreements on this and according to these agreements, 23 islands should be disarmed, but on the contrary they have been armed by Greece. This is intolerable. 26 islands are currently armed, which is against the agreement. Who violates the agreement? All should be known. Here they are trying to make a fait accompli and reach a certain point. We are committed and determined to protect Turkey's rights and interests, and we are also able to do this.”  

Minister AKAR said the following about the US sanctions regarding the S-400s: “We are overwhelmed to notice that CAATSA pleased some of our neighbors and allies. It should be known that we have been in need of an air defense system since 1982. Various efforts have been made to meet this need. These efforts multiplied in the 90's. Especially in 2011, our need increased a lot with the events in Syria. There is no backstage here, everything is clear. This procurement process was started and finalized with exceptionally transparent negotiations and talks. Examinations and tests are currently being carried out. We have a plan that we made within the framework of political, military, economic and technological factors. Our activities continue as planned within this framework. With a cold-blooded perspective, we expect the US to see that this is a wrong decision and to reverse its decision right away. We expect them to see that this decision would adversely affect not only Turkey but also the NATO alliance, and at the same time the US and certain activities here. We continue our activities as per our decision we have taken.”


Tiger-Claw 2020 Exercise

The Claw-Tiger Claw Exercise was conducted in the international waters and airspace of the Mediterranean and the Aksaz region on December 22, 2020 with the participation of the Land, Naval and Air Forces, and was realized with actual flights and firings under the control and management of the Combat Air Force Command. With the Claw-Tiger Exercise, the objective is to improve the TAF's airspace control procedures and methods and coordination procedures in a possible joint operation and to check the applicability of new tactics and methods.

21 aircraft, 1 helicopter, 1 frigate, 2 fast patrol boats, 1 auxiliary ship, UAVs and various air defense systems took part in the operation. In the footage shared by the Turkish Ministry of National Defense (MoND) regarding the operation from its social media account, the loaded Harpy Attack UAV Launcher deployed on the base where F-16C/D Block 40/50M, F-4E 2020, E-7T HİK, and the CN235 Aircraft took off attracting attention. In two of the four F-16C/D Block 40M Aircraft, there was an AGM-65G/G2 IIR Guided Air Ground Missile, an AN/AWW-13 SLAM-ER Data Link Pod on the undercarriage external load station in one of the aircraft, in the other there was a blue Mk-84 general purpose bomb under the right wing, and a SLAM-ER Missile under the left wing. On the F-4E 2020 Aircraft seen in the footage, there were Popeye Air-to-Surface Missile and AN/ASW-55 Popeye Data Link Pod under the wings. With this weapons load, the TuRAF performed the tasks of Tactical Air Support for Maritime Operations (TASMO) and Anti Surface Force Air Operations (ASFAO) to support the Turkish Naval Forces units deployed within the scope of the Exercise.

A total of 108 Harpy Attack UAVs in two batteries were supplied for the Turkish Air Forces in 2002. Harpy, with a maximum range of 1,000 km, 5 hours endurance and a LoS control range of 150 km (can be increased up to 5 times with a relay), is used to suppress or destroy enemy air defense radars that emit RF energy in the 2-18 GHz bands. The Harpy Attack UAV System, which destroys its target with a blast fragmentation type warhead consisting of PX-139 type explosive and 7,000 steel balls, is approaching the end of its shelf life. Harpy will be replaced by the domestic and national design KARGI Assault UAV in the forthcoming period.

48 AGM-84K-1A SLAM-ER Cruise Missiles and 10 AN/AWW-13 Data Link Pods at a cost of US$ 13 million were ordered to Boeing under a contract worth US$ 79.1 million, announced on March 30, 2007 for the Turkish Air Force to be used in F-16C/D Aircraft. The AGM-84K-1A SLAM-ER has a range of 280 km.

Popeye guided missiles, which entered the inventory of the Turkish Air Force as part of the modernization program of the F-4E Aircraft, are a long-range air-to-surface missile system. Within the scope of the F-4E 2020 Avionics Modernization Program, signed in October 1998 under a US $ 80 million contract, 46 Popeye I missiles were procured from the Israeli Rafael in the first batch. As far as I know, the number of missiles was increased to 100 with additional 54 missiles later. The Air Forces Command conducted its first Popeye I firing test in Konya within the scope of Anatolian Eagle Training 2006/1 and a direct hit was achieved. The length of the missile is 4.83 m and its weight is 1.362 kg. Popeye, which can be equipped with an electro-optic or IR seeker, can be controlled by its own guidance system after being fired or guided to the target by a second aircraft via the AN/AWS-55 data link pod. The warhead is 363 kg with a range of 100 km and can penetrate 2.5 m concrete.  The range of the AN/ASW-55 Data Link Pod is 180 km. Popeye is able to hit a target point of 1 square meters from a range of 90 km.

The AGM-65G and AGM-65G-2 Maverick Missiles in the inventory of the Air Forces are IIR (Imaging Infrared) guided missiles launched from air to surface. The AGM-65G/G-2 Maverick Missile, which has a maximum range of 40 km, can hit its target with an accuracy of 1 m from 20 km at an altitude of 30,000ft, according to the Air Forces data. The missile can penetrate 6 cm of armor, 8 cm of steel, 25 cm of concrete and 2.5 m of soil. However, considering the weight of the warhead on the missile and its flight speed of 1,150 km/h (620kn), I think the penetration power is much higher. The missile, which is launched by locking onto the target by the pilot through the Targeting Pod, seeks the target with the heat source through the help of the guidance system and destroys the target by detonating the warhead when hitting it.

I had the opportunity as a press member, to follow the firing conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea Firing Exercise Area (LTD-13) on June 28, 2013, within the scope of Claw Live Ammunition Firings, where an air-to-ship attack operation was tried against a threat from the sea. Two IIR guided AGM-65G Maverick missiles were fired to a ship retired from the Naval Forces inventory by an attack group of the 118th Fleet Command consisting of two F-16C aircraft. We followed the firing live on the screen in the AKEFK Briefing Hall at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command thanks to the GÖREN Aircraft equipped with the AselFLIR-300T and the F-16 Fighting Falcon Aircraft equipped with the SNIPER Pod