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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkey - Medium Range Ballistic Missiles

Turkey's theater missile "program" is a bit of a puzzle. Announced plans call for a spectrum of four missiles, with ranges from 300km to 2500 km. The shortest range missile, the J-600T, is clearly the Turkish edition of the Chinese B-611M. With performance parameters just under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) cutoff point, China can legitimately transfer this missile and its' technology to Turkey. While it cannot transfer the longer range missiles, the J-600T can serve as a school house to transfer critical design and fabrication"tacit knowledge" to Turkish personnel. The design data for the longer range missiles could be transferred on a thumb drive, with no one the wiser.

It is improbable that Turkey would develop and deploy these longer range missile without equipping them with nuclear warheads. Flight tests of these missiles could be a leading indicator of a Turkish nuclear weapons program.

As of early 2018, no such tests have materialized, and the whole thing may just be neo-Ottoman bluster. Or not.

300 km J-600TB-611MHatf-3 Ghaznavi
800 km T-800M-9Shaheen-I
1500 km T-1500M-18Shaheen-II
2500 km T-2500DF-21Shaheen-III

Since 1997, Turkey has been a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which was established in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the United States. Turkey in 1997 signed the Missile Technology Control Regime. This regime controls the export and import procedures of the materials used by the member states in the production of missiles. According to this, states can not sell missiles with a warhead over 500 kilograms, over 300 kilometer long, to other states.

Under the name of "Missile Executive Board" or "Missile Executive Board", a new committee composed of the Ministry of National Defense, Undersecretariat of Defense Industry, ASELSAN, ROKETSAN, retired soldiers, universities and sector experts was established.

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) is the leading agency for management, funding and conduct of research in Turkey. It was established in 1963 with a mission to advance science and technology, conduct research and support Turkish researchers. The Council is an autonomous institution and is governed by a Scientific Board whose members are selected from prominent scholars from universities, industry and research institutions. TÜBITAK is responsible for promoting, developing, organizing, conducting and coordinating research and development in line with national targets and priorities. More than 1,500 researchers work in 15 different research institutes of TÜBITAK where contract research as well as targeted and nation-wide research is conducted.

Existing Turkish missile programs include:

  1. J600-T YILDIRIM [LIGHTNING]: The range of 250 kilometers.
  2. JAGUAR: produced by Chinese technology, with a range of about 250 kilometers.
  3. TOROS: In 1999 TSK entered the inventory with a range of 100 kilometers. Tauruses resembling multi-barrel rocket launchers.
  4. ATTACK-MS: Purchased from US, it has 165 kilometers range.
  5. RAINBOW: It consists of multi-barrel rockets with four barrel. The warhead is 150 kilograms and it can hit targets 100 kilometers away are visible.

Turkey MissilesIn late 2011, the state scientific research institute, TUBITAK, announced that its scientists would soon finish a missile of unknown flavor with a range of 1,500 km (930 miles) and in 2014 another with a range of 2,500 km (1,550 miles). A further missile with an 800-km range was ready for precision tests, according to the official narrative. The order for the missile program had come from then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In January 2012 Professor Yücel Altinbasak, head of Turkey’s State Scientific Research Institute (TÜBITAK), told reporters that the decision to build the ballistic missiles was made at a recent meeting of the High Board of Technology and in line with a request from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Altinbasak said TÜBITAK had already produced and delivered a missile with a range of 500 kilometers to the Turkish military and added that the missile had displayed a mere five-meter deviation from its target in field tests. In the next phase of the program this year, TÜBITAK will first test the 1,500-kilometer missile before heading for the final goal of 2,500 kilometers. Altinbasak said building missiles with a range of 2,500-kilometer was a “realistic target for Turkey.”

The Turkish Armed Forces have begun working on a project to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hurriyet Daily News reported citing broadcaster NTV on July 24, 2012. A decision to launch the project was made during a 17 July 2012 meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Board, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and General Staff chief Necdet Özel. Erdogan had previously requested that the military develop missiles with a 2,500-kilometer range.

According to NTV, Ankara could cooperate with an undisclosed Eastern European country to develop the satellite launch center. The ICBM project, meanwhile, has sought to improve on the SOM cruise missile developed by TÜBITAK. The SOM cruise missile has a current range of 300 kilometers. The range would first be increased to 1,500 and later to 2,500 kilometers within the project, according to the report.

This missile program was curious, not only in terms of military technology but also in terms of the political deliberations that might have pushed Turkey into such a venture. Tehran is not the only potentially hostile capital Ankara could target within a 2,500-km range. The map shows many other possibilities: Algiers, Amman, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Copenhagen, Damascus, Geneva, Jeddah, Kiev, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich. The calculated flying distance from Istanbul to Moscow is equal to 1091 miles which is equal to 1756 km.

Ankara’s deliberations regarding the missile program apparently matured when the Turkish-Persian rivalry heated up in 2011, with Tehran claiming to possess Shahab-3 missiles with a range of 1,300 km.

In 2013, Turkey’s defense officials said that TUBITAK’s 800-km missiles, primarily targeting naval and aircraft shelter targets, had been successfully tested. They were fired from aerial platforms and hit targets over the Black Sea. The 1,500-km missile was to be launched in 2014, and the 2,500-km missile at an unspecified subsequent date. Since then there has not been a credible follow-up statement.

Late in 2013, defense procurement officials claimed that TUBITAK’s 800-kilometer-range missile had been successfully tested, hitting targets with precision over the Black Sea. They had been launched from aerial assets, which “constituted a landmark achievement in [Turkish] missile technology,” as one official put it. The 1,500-kilometer-range missile would now debut in 2014, however, not in 2013 as promised. The 2,500-kilometer-range missile would appear later as well, not in 2014.

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Page last modified: 30-01-2018 18:40:29 ZULU