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Bozdogan (Merlin) BVR AAM

AAMTwo new air to air missiles (AAMs) were unveiled on the first day of IDEF in Istanbul, Turkey, which took place from 9-12 May 2017. IDEF has been held every two years since 1993 in Turkey with the attendance of both governmental and business sector representatives from around the world. The four-day event is held under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey and under the management and responsibility of Turkish Armed Forces Foundation. It is hosted by the Ministry of National Defense.

Tubitak SAGE (Defence Industry Research and Development Institute) unveiled the Peregrin Within Visual Range (WVR) and Merlin Beyond Visual Range [BVR] AAMs. Both missiles had been under development since 2012 under Project GKTUG by the Scientific and Technological Research Council's (TBITAK) Defense Industry Research and Development Institute (SAGE). Tubitak SAGE was responsible for design of the two AAMs, though a decision on which company will produced the AAMs had not been taken as of 2017.

"A major achievement in the field, Turkey's first active radar homing missile, which is also used with long-range air defense missiles, is designed entirely with national resources," Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk zl stated 08 May 2017.

The extremely high speed of modern air-to-air combat stretches the capabilities of a human pilot to their limits. Faced with complex aircraft instrumentation and high-tech weapon systems, a pilot is required to achieve split-second reaction times as supersonic aircraft pass each other at relative speeds up to thousands of miles per hour. Various high performance target-seeking air-to-air missiles have been developed to operate under these conditions. However, many factors generally limit the usefulness of such missiles to greatly less than their theoretical performance capabilities.

Missiles for targeting aircraft require extremely high speeds, typically in the range of 3-4 mach, in order to close in upon a fast-moving target. Particularly in the case of air-to-air missiles, high seeker gimbal angles and high maneuverability are also required in order to facilitate targeting of an enemy aircraft which is at a high angle off boresight.

The initial coordinates of the target aircraft are fed to the missile guidance system at launch. Because of the great range between the frienly fighter and the target aircraft, the guided missile will remain undetected for a longer time due to the much smaller radar cross section. To minimize the distance at which the guided missile is detected, the guided missile can be flown to a higher altitude to avoid detection by the main lobe of the search radar. The target aircraft probably is aware of such a scenario and thus would scan periodically higher altitudes.

The first air-to-air weapons developed by Turkish industry, they are intended to meet the Turkish fighter (TF-X) program requirements. The larger Merlin (Bozdogan) has a range of around 65km (40 miles). The Merlin has a solid-state RF seeker, with advanced counter-measure capability and datalink update. Merlin uses a reduced smoke solid propellant, without the thrust vectoring of Peregrine. Both Merlin and Peregrine use the same electronic arming and firing system, and both can be used with the LAU-129 missile launcher.

The Merlin missile can also be used in a lock-on after launch mode, with a datalink update from the aircraft also allowing the missile to be updated in flight. It is intended to replace the American AIM-120 fixed-fin AMRAAM, an air-to-air, lock-on after launch missile. These missiles include a seeker located near the nose of the missile to guide the missile to the intended target. A seeker consists of an imager and a tracker to perform the guidance function.

The Bozdogan BVR missile carries the Aselsan developed Ku-ban solid state array RF antenna on mechanical gimbal seeker head. The lab tests of the Aselsan seeker head were performed with success in 30G and 40G high gravity. Also in RF jamming the antenna passed the tests. In 2018 the Bozdogan AA missile tests started first unguided and later with seeker head. Aselsan delivered 5 seeker head prototypes to Tubitak for the tests. It is planned that the tests are done in 2018 and get the Bozdogan serial production in 2019. A modified seeker of the Bozdogan missile is also considered for the Hisar-O SAM. The modified seeker could be ready in 2019.

Following their successful ground tests, Turkey's first homegrown air-to-air missiles, Gkdogan (Peregrine) and Bozdogan (Merlin) will undergo some more tests in the last quarter of 2018. Following their introduction at the IDEF in May 2017, both missiles underwent ballistic launches from the ground. These tests measured the rockets' engine performance, without the guidance and the ability to destroy targets. The tests were successfully completed in the Black Sea province of Sinop. Experts evaluated the capabilities of the missile engine after disabling the guidance system, Anadolu Agency reported 26 March 2018.

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Page last modified: 03-04-2018 18:10:41 ZULU