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Gokdogan (Peregrine) WVR 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.

As developements in military aircraft performance and air-to-air weaponry increase, weapons systems that defined against them must also be improved. Experience and common sense dictate the the effectiveness and performance of any air-to-air weapon system critically depends on the ability of the operator of the weapon system to detect, identify, and target hostile aircraft. The purpose of a targeting system is to provide the capability to detect, identify and target the hostile aircraft, and thus the targeting system is a crucial component in any sophisticated weapon system.

The first air-to-air weapons developed by Turkish industry, they are intended to meet the Turkish fighter (TF-X) program requirements. The Peregrin (Gokdogan) has a range of 30kms (20 miles). The Peregrin will have a high resolution dual color imaging infra-red seeker, with a comprehensive off-boresight capability and advanced counter-measures. Peregrine uses a high thrust, reduced smoke solid propellant and electronic arming and firing system, with thrust vectoring providing enhanced manuverability, particularly at close range. Both Merlin and Peregrine use the same electronic arming and firing system, and both can be used with the LAU-129 missile launcher.

Missiles fitted with sensors that are capable of rotating independently of the missile and therefore "seeing" targets that are off boresight are termed "off-boresight missiles". The angle through which the seeker rotates from boresight is termed the "off-boresight angle". At the time of launching the sensor is directed substantially towards the target so that an infrared radiating "hot" spot of the target is located at, or near, the center of its field of view. As the target moves away from the center of the field of view of the missile's sensor so that the missile's flight path correspondingly moves off target, the sensor rotates independently of the missile's body to bring the target's infrared radiating hot spot back into the center of its field of view.

A signal representative of the spatial rotation angle through which the sensor rotated during this manoeuvre is transmitted to a control unit which in turn operates the missile's steering system which, by way of a non-limiting example, activates the missile's fins to re-align the missile thereby ensuring that its flight path is again on target. This procedure of rotation of the missile's sensor and re-aligning of the missile, has to be performed continuously, or quasi-continuously, since a missile cannot make sudden changes in direction, i.e., its flight path is always smooth, even though the missile's sensor is fitted on gimbals that allow for fairly large angles of rotation.

There are clearly a number of serious drawbacks with conventional fire and forget missiles. For a start, the missile has to be in a "seek mode" from the moment of launching. Hence, for such missiles the target cannot be outside the field of view of the missile either at the time of launching of the missile, or at any time after launching. This means that targets outside of the field of view of the missile, e.g., behind or on a side of the aircraft (i.e., at an angle of greater than from boresight), on which the missile is mounted, cannot be acquired by the missile at the time of launching. Another drawback of such missiles is that should the target escape completely from the missile's field of view after launch, there is no way to set the missile back on a homing flight path toward the target. Another well known drawback is the susceptibility of these missiles to counter measures, which normally take the form of flares for infrared seeking missiles and chaff for missile's equipped with radars. In both of these cases the counter measures act as decoys which, as far as the missiles are concerned, are valid targets.

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.

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