Turkish Air Force Modernization
In the mid-1990s, Turkey was phasing in advanced F-16 fighter aircraft produced domestically under a cooperative program with the General Dynamics and General Electric corporations. An initial shipment of 160 aircraft was to be supplemented with a second package of eighty aircraft. The F-16s were to replace a combat fleet of obsolete F-5s and F-104s; the force also included somewhat more up-to-date F-4Es.
After the US Air Forces, the Turkish Air Forces have the highest number of F-16 aircraft in the world. Turkish Air Forces can participate in exercises conducted overseas. With air refueling capability, Turkish aircraft can join live exercises in central Europe and return home bases in Turkey, and fly directly from Turkey to the USA crossing the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the air operation conducted during the Kosovo crisis displayed that the Turkish Air Forces, after the US, is the only Air Force, which can conduct night operations.
In 1994 the air force's fixed-wing transport squadrons consisted of United States-manufactured C-130E Hercules and German C-160D Transall medium transports and CN-235 light transports. Fifty-two CN-235s coproduced with a Spanish manufacturer have replaced the United States-manufactured C-47s for troop-transport and cargo missions.
Upon completion of the four-year air force academy program, air force pilots are trained for two to two-and-a-half years on a variety of United States propeller and jet training aircraft. The Italian SF-260 coproduced in Turkey is being introduced as an advanced combat trainer. Nonflying officers are trained by the Air Technical Schools Command. NCOs are also trained in twelve- to eighteen-month programs in administrative and technical skills at specialized institutions of this command.
Upgrading of the air force flight inventory was expected to include acquisition from the United States of two surplus KC-135A tanker aircraft--scaled back from seven for financial reasons--that would permit air refueling and thus dramatically increase the range of fighter aircraft. The air force also hopes to receive airborne early warning aircraft and airborne command and control aircraft. The planned transfer of fifty surplus United States A-10 attack aircraft for close support of ground troops was canceled because Turkey's tight foreign-exchange situation did not permit acquisition of the needed reconditioning and support equipment. Ankara considers the acquisition of United States Patriot missiles essential to reducing Turkey's vulnerability to conventional air and missile attack, but in early 1995 such an acquisition did not appear imminent.
Turkey elected Cessna’s T182 aircraft for the Land Forces’ basic trainer aircraft requirement. The contract between SSM and Cessna was signed in November 2008 and the first aircraft was delivered in March 2009.
In the wake of A400M delays, Turkey was not looking at acquiring an interim capability. Turkey was one of 8 original partner nations and the TurAF had 10 A400Ms on order. The A400Ms that make up a very important Strategic Air Lift capability for the country. Aircraft number 8 and number 9 were both delivered in the 2019 summer timeframe. The last A400M for the Turkish Air Force would be delivered in 2022.
HAVELSAN participates in acquisition of Peace Eagle AEW&C [Airborne Early Warning & Control System ] as the sole in-country subcontractor of BOEING for the Mission Computing Segment (MCS) and Ground Support Segment (GSS). HAVELSAN developed Turkish unique software modules for mission processor, tactical display, communication, ESM systems and man-machine interfaces. HAVELSAN also realise the test and integration of these software to the 737 AEW&C aircraft. By the Integrated Product Team (IPT) approach, cross-functional, semi-autonomous, co-located working teams manage all aspects of the program. HAVELSAN participates all the engineering processes throughout the program, starting from the system analysis till the end of system test and evaluation. In the scope of the program, HAVELSAN develops, modifies and integrate 12 software modules (CSCIs).
According to Open Skies Agreement, one of CN-235 Light Transportation Aircraft has been modified as an observation airplane. HAVELSAN designed and developed Mission Planning System. The Open Skies Aircraft; is the first observation plane in its class all over the world. Within the context of this Project, HAVELSAN is responsible from the design and application of Mission Planning System. Open Skies Aircraft (ASA) is the first observation plane in its class all over the world; and it's also estimated that the Aircraft will be produced for the countries which are in need.
Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) has defined their 2012-2016 Strategic Plan for over 280 projects which were initiated in 2011. To be included in the inventory by the end of 2014 is the Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicle ANKA as well as the tactical unmanned aerial vehicle. In addition, the concept design for the Jet Training Plane and Combat Airplane will also be finalized by the end of 2014. Hürkus, the training plane designed by Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TUSAS) will be added to the inventory by the end of 2015.
Developed by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, TUBITAK, HGK is the state of the art GPS/INS guidance kit that turns existing 2000 lb MK-84 dumb bomb into smart weapons. Integrated GPS/INS support with hot start allowa HGK to hit the targets below a CEP of 6 meters in all weather conditions. INS only mod provides HGK a unique capability. CEP below 10 meters without GPS correction. HGK is capable of reaching rangers over 12 nautical miles when released from medium altitudes. A maximum range of 15 nautical miles is achieved upon releases from high altitudes. HGK Mission Planning Suite is stand alone platform for mission planning of both the parent aircraft and weapon. For integration to existing mission planning systems, a store unique planning component is also availible. Ruggedized Weapon Testing Equipment provides a complete solution to aircraft and HGK weapon systems testing down to component level. To be upgraded with UAI compliant interfaces, HGK has been added to JSF inventory as a part of Block-4 weapon integration and certification list.
In December 2010 officials of Italy's defense industry giant Finmeccanica, a partner in MBDA, offered Turkey to jointly build Eurofighter jets as Turkey's F-4 fleet is too old and it would take at least 10 years for the first F-35 fighter jet delivery. Finmeccanica officials said Turkish F-16 fleet should be reinforced by 40 to 60 EU-made, twin-engine, delta-wing Eurofighter jets, valued at 2-3 billion USD. They said new generation Eurofighters could be manufactured jointly by EU and Turkey.
As early as 2005 the Eurofighter Consortium, which was competing with the Joint Strike Fighter initiative, offered Turkey industrial participation in the Eurofighter, including partnership with the elite club for European aerospace industry. Eurofighter used the 7th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF - the bi-annual Turkish defense fair) to further its campaign to convince Turkey to select the Typhoon in place of/in addition to the F35 JSF as part of the Turkish Air Forces modernization program. At a 26 September 2005 press conference, Giovanni Bertolone (Alenia Aeronautic CEO) confirmed an invitation to Turkey to become the 5th Eurofighter partner for the manufacture of parts for the aircraft and for the development of new technologies.
Eurofighter believes Turkey has a strategic need for its combat jets but expects an agreement to take at least two years, Chief Executive Enzo Casolini told Reuters at the Paris Air Show on March 11, 2012. "We think Turkey is a country that's right for two platforms, like Italy and the UK have done. That is, JSF for ground attack and Eurofighter for air superiority," Casolini said, referring to the Lockheed Martin Corp-built (LMT.N) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|