Israeli embargo on Turkey hits IAI-Boeing cooperation

Cooperation between Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) unit Elta Systems and Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) to produce airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) is being threatened because the project is due for delivery to the Turkish Air Force, “Defense News” reports. Israel’s Ministry of Defense has instructed Elta to delay delivery of two of the four sub-systems for electronic support slated to be installed in the early warning aircraft, as part of the US Peace Eagle program for Turkey.

“Defense News” says that some Israeli defense sources fear the incident could inflict long-term damage to trade relations between the US and Israel.

“Defense News” writes that “If Elta cannot deliver the remaining systems for the Turkish program, industry sources here said Boeing may seek alternate suppliers for South Korea and other customers of the 737-based AEW&C aircraft.”

Consequently, Elta is pressing Israel’s Ministry of Defense to cancel delay of delivery. The instructions, which became valid last fall, also threaten to expose Elta to fines for violating contracts and would tarnish its good name.

“Defense News” recounts that late last year Israel’s Ministry of Defense refused to allow Elta and prime contractor Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) to complete delivery of previously authorized long-range aerial photography systems to the Turkish Air Force. The decision cost Elta $55 million, while Elta Systems reported losses of $80 million and a $65 million drop in 2011 fourth quarter net profit as a result of write-offs and other costs associated with the terminated program.

“Defense News” notes that, “Unlike the earlier contract with Turkey, government and industry sources insist Elta’s export license to Boeing is not suspended is not suspended but rather put on hold pending additional review. In contrast to the terminated long-range pod program, industry sources said the ESM subcontract to Boeing involves a passive, purely defensive system that in now way enhances the attack capabilities of the Turkish Air Force.”

There is a danger that Boeing will declare force majeure and kick us out of this prestigious and lucrative program,” one industry source said.

An Elta spokesman confirmed that delivery of the two electronic sub-systems had been delayed for “political reasons.” He said, “We’re trying to work it all out, before it becomes a much bigger problem.”

Boeing spokesman David Sloan declined to discuss licensing issues or delivery delays associated with the firm’s Israeli subcontractor. He said, “We continue to be on plan for delivery of Turkey’s first Peace Eagle aircraft by the end of the year.”

US defense sources said that beyond immediate commercial and legal repercussions for Elta, the freeze on deliveries to Boeing carries grave, long-term implications for the future of US-Israeli defense trade.

A former Israeli defense official told “Defense News” that the case, if not resolved promptly, threatens to hamper a high priority US-Turkish program with operational implications for NATO. He said that it might also impede Boeing’s ability to perform as required under its $1.6 billion contract with Turkey and discourage other US firms from entering into strategic international cooperation with Israeli suppliers.


Greek crisis to hurt Hellenic Air Force


Greece’s most devestating financial crisis in modern times and the growing possibility of a default on its loans have not only progressed its rating from Germany-level credit to average, on to junk, below junk and now to likely default, but also have begun to dramatically limit and even reduce its military capabilities. The damage is especially stark among the ranks of the Hellenic Air Force (HAF).

Here’s a brief list of probable changes to HAF:

  • Vintage A-7E and TA-7C s are all to be retired before 2013 due to high maintenance costs.
  • Two squadrons of F-4E AUPs will be merged into one squadron.
  • RF-4E recon aircraft are to be withdrawn in late 2012 while 6 will be kept for use with the 3 Thales ASTAC SIGINT pods. Recon ops to be transferred to the F-16 Block 52+’s with the 2 Goodrich DB-110 pods.
  • Mirage 2000s face possible operational cuts due to small size of fleet.
  • T-2 Buckeyes are very likely to be withdrawn in 2 yrs due to lack of spare parts.
  • Many T-6A Texan IIs have been placed in long-term storage due to shortages in operational budgets.
  • NH-90 helicopter acquisition delayed due to major design flaws along with higher costs of operation relative to the Blackhawk. Acquisition will probably not be finished before 2015.
  • EMB145H AWACS assets face possibility of reduction of the fleet from 4 to 2 aircraft.

HAF airbases planned for downsizing and/or outright closure include:

  • In Larisa AFB on Crete, the F-16 Block 52s will go to Araxos following the retirement of A-7s.
  • Aircraft storage and maintenance facilities in Agrinion face budgetary cuts.
  • Similar cuts hame things difficult in Santorini (QRA detachment)
  • Tympaki (location of S-300 air defence missiles) is burdened by lower budgets.
  • CL-415 water bombers in Thessaloniki will go to Elefsis.

Based on Air Forces Monthly data.

Israel bags $1.6 billion weapons deal with Azerbaijan


IAI Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Israeli military officials say the Tel Aviv regime plans to sign a major arms deal worth USD 1.6 billion with Azerbaijan.

The officials said on Sunday Israel Aerospace Industries will sell “drones, anti-aircraft and missile defense systems worth USD 1.6 billion” to Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, Israeli media said Angolan Finance Minister Carlos Alberto Lopes has traveled to Israel to sign a military agreement.

Reports say the Israeli-Angolan deal is worth about USD 1 billion.

The latest report on the Israeli military agreements comes a couple of days after Israeli officials said on February 16 the Tel Aviv regime had reached a “USD-one-billion preliminary” agreement with Italy to buy 30 Italian military training jets.



French army change route after Turkish ban

French state aircraft and warships are no longer using Turkish airspace and territorial waters after permission requests in three different cases were rejected by the Turkish government, France’s top diplomat in Ankara said, amid the ongoing spat over a French law penalizing the denial of Armenian genocide.

“Our requests [for an aircraft and two warships] have been rejected, so we are no longer issuing such requests. We are using alternative routes,” France’s Ambassador to Turkey Laurent Bili told the private news channel CNN Türk in an interview.

Bili said the first rejection was to a request for a French military aircraft that wanted to use Turkish airspace on its way to France from Afghanistan. Similarly, two French warships were not allowed to enter Turkish territorial waters recently. Turkey’s move against the French military was part of sanctions imposed against France after the adoption of the law at French Parliament late December last year.

Though enough numbers of lawmakers and senators were collected to take the law to the Constitutional Council for possible annulment, Bili’s words revealed the process was not an easy one.
“There was such an atmosphere [in Ankara] that necessitated my return to France,” Bili said, adding that the Turkish reaction against the move was a surprise for many French people but did not affect Turkey’s image in the country. “France attaches great importance to its relationship with Turkey. We need to be calm. The law is not aimed against Turkey […] The number of Armenians living in France is 10 times more than the number of Armenians in Turkey. They have become a part of French history. I understand how sensitive issues are concerning ancestors, but cutting off ties is not a good idea.”

The French Constitutional Council must conclude its study on the law by Feb. 29 if the government does not demand the speeding up of the process and give its verdict in eight days. If it does not embrace the law, the council will either fully reject the law or will demand a partial amendment. In both cases, the legislative process will have to start from scratch.


An armada of domestic satellites await countdown

RASAT Satellite

A total of 17 satellite programs are expected to come into orbit from 2012 to 2020. Over the next five years satellite contracts could amount to $2 billion, according to a space industry expert based in Turkey.

The Turkish government has devised an ambitious road map for the country’s multiple satellite programs through 2020.

According to the road map, a total of 17 Turkish satellites will come into orbit from 2012 to 2020. A space industry expert based in Turkey said the next five years’ satellite contracts would amount to $2 billion. “This is a niche market with strong prospects due to Turkey’s genuine ambitions in space technology,” he said.

According to the road map, Turkey will this year launch the Göktürk II, an electro optical reconnaissance and observation satellite. Göktürk I as well as Türksat 4A, a communications satellite, will be launched in 2013. Türksat 4B will be launched in 2014 and Türksat 4R in 2015 along with the Göktürk III, a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) reconnaissance and observation satellite. 2016 will see an infrared early warning satellite sent into orbit, along with the Türksat 5A communications satellite. In 2017, Türksat 5B and a second infrared satellite will be launched. The electro optical Göktürk IV and two more infrared satellites will be put in orbit in 2018, and yet two more infrared satellites will be launched in 2019. In 2020 Turkey will launch its second SAR Göktürk V.

The road map comes after the government set up a Space Technologies Directorate under the supervision of the Transport Ministry last November. Officials said this office will later become the country’s first National Space Agency.

There is a multitude of space actors in Turkey, but experts hope efforts will be better coordinated with the establishment of the National Space Agency. Current organizations include the State Planning Organization, the Ministry of Transportation, the communications satellite operator Türksat, the state scientific research institute Tübitak and the defense procurement agency the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries.

Tübitak cooperates with the Federal Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, German aerospace center DLR, Britain’s space agency BNSC and the Netherlands space office NSO.

Defense companies Aselsan, Roketsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries, as well as three universities, are also involved in space programs.

The Turkish government identified space as a priority area in scientific and technological progress in 2004. As part of this strategy it has sought to develop programs in line with the Human Space Technology Initiative, an effort under the framework of the United Nations Program on Space Applications. The effort promotes international cooperation in human space lift and space exploration-related activities.

In 2009, Telespazio, a joint venture between Italy’s defense giant Finmeccanica and France’s Thales, signed a deal worth nearly 250 million euros (about $345 million) for the Turkish military satellite.

Umit Enginsoy

UAV Technology: Israel Cuts Turkey Off

Growing political hostility between Turkey and Israel has led to the Israeli military cancelling the export permit for UAVs and support services for Turkey. This will cost the firm that sold Turkey Heron UAVs some $90 million. The Israeli military has veto power over any arms exports and in this case believed it was too risky to complete the supplying of Turkey with UAV technology.

Meanwhile, Turkey has a Plan B. Two months ago, four American Predator UAVs, which had long operated in Iraq, were moved to Turkey. There, the American UAVs will be under the control of the Turkish security forces and assist in tracking Kurdish separatist (PKK) rebels. American UAVs based in Iraq had been helping the Turks track the PKK, but with all American forces gone from Iraq, the Turks were happy to give some of the Iraq-based Predators a new home.

Turkey has six Predator and four Reaper UAVs on order but there is a big backlog. Meanwhile, Turkey has been using ten Israeli Heron UAVs. This has been complicated because of growing Turkish hostility towards Israel. The latest accusations are that Israel is assisting the PKK and the Turkish media is having a good time with this sort of thing. After that sort of thing, the Israeli armed forces decided that the Turks could not be trusted. This was not a sudden change of mind. Last year Israeli UAV technicians and instructors were recalled from Turkey, where they were training Turkish troops on how to operate and maintain Israeli Heron UAVs. The Israeli personnel were withdrawn because it was believed they might be attacked.

The Turkish government has become increasingly anti-Israel in the last seven years. The Islamic politicians, who were elected in 2002, adopted an anti-Israel, anti-West attitude and strove to increase their stature in the Islamic world. Actually, the Turks are trying to regain the stature they used to have in the Islamic world. Until 1924, the Sultan of the Turks was the Caliph (technically the leader of all Moslems). But in the 1920s, Turkey turned itself into a secular state. Although Turkey became a major economic power in the Middle East, with one of the best educated populations, it was still hobbled by corruption and mismanagement. The current Islamic politicians promised to attack the corruption (which they have) and return religion to a central place in Turkish culture (in progress). This has upset a lot of secular Turks. But the Islamic politicians have made it fashionable to hate Israel.

The Turks ordered ten Herons seven years ago but delivery was delayed because of problems with the Turkish made sensor package. Meanwhile, the Turks were still fighting Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq and really needed those UAVs. Four years ago, the Israeli manufacturer made an interim deal to supply Israeli (without the Turkish sensors) Herons, along with support personnel, on a $10 million lease. But now those Herons are inoperable and the Turks have turned to locally made IHA UAVs, which are much less effective.

The Heron Shoval UAVs are very similar to the American Predator A (or MQ-1). The Shoval weighs about the same (1.2 tons) and has the same endurance (40 hours). Shoval has a slightly higher ceiling (9,600 meters/30,000 feet, versus 25,000 feet) and software which allows it to automatically take off, carry out a mission, and land automatically. Not all American large UAVs can do this. Both Predator and Shoval cost about the same ($5 million), although the Israelis are willing to be flexible on price. The Shoval does have a larger wingspan (16.5 meters/51 feet) than the Predator (13.2 meters/41 feet) and a payload of about 137 kg (300 pounds).


Boeing wins $3.48 bln missile defense contract

Boeing beat out Lockheed Martin to retain its position as the prime contractor for the U.S. long-range missile shield, the Pentagon said on Dec. 30.

The U.S. Defense Department said it was awarding Boeing a $3.48 billion, seven-year contract to develop, test, engineer and manufacture missile defense systems.

A team led by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon had vied with Boeing to expand and maintain the “Ground-based Midcourse Defense” (GMD) hub of layered antimissile protection.
Boeing partnered with Northrop Grumman to retain the work.

“We believe the government conducted a fair and open competition, making the right decision for the future of the program,” Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and program director of GMD, said in a statement.

‘Shield against Iran, North Korea’

The GMD contract’s value to Boeing will have been about $18 billion from January 2001, when it formally became the system’s prime contractor, through the end of this year, Boeing has said.

GMD uses radar and other sensors plus a more than 32,000-kilometer fiber optic communications network to cue interceptors in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The shield has been shaped initially to guard against ballistic missiles that could be fired by Iran and North Korea. It is the only U.S. defense against long-range missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.


Turkish jets to deliver nuclear warheads, report says

The United States currently has 70 type B61-12 tactical nuclear bombs at its airbase in İncirlik in the southern province of Adana, according to daily Vatan.

'Gazelle' squadron, assigned with the task of delivering nuclear warheads, consists of F-16 warplanes. Hürriyet photo
'Gazelle' squadron, assigned with the task of delivering nuclear warheads, consists of F-16 warplanes. Hürriyet photo

Vatan acquired the information from a report by Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen that was published on the “Atomic Scientists Bulletin” website, revealing an inventory of the nuclear weapons the U.S. military keeps in Turkey.

Number of warheads decreased from 90 in 2001.

Between 10 and 20 of the 70 nuclear warheads at İncirlik were designed to be delivered to their targets by Turkish warplanes, according to the report.

The 142nd fighter/bomber squadron of the Turkish Air Forces, nicknamed the “Gazelles,” was assigned the task of delivering the nuclear ordnances. The squadron consists of F-16A/B warplanes.

The U.S. military needed a certain warplane type that is different than those stationed at the İncirlik airbase in order to deliver the remaining 50 warheads, the report by Norris and Kristensen said.

The Turkish state, however, has declined to allow the U.S. military to deploy the said aircraft at İncirlik.

U.S. warplanes would need to land at İncirlik from another location, equip the nuclear warheads and then fly to their targets, according to the report.

Turkey’s refusal to station nuclear-capable U.S. warplanes on its soil prevented İncirlik from acquiring a “full NATO position” status. This was a unique case among NATO bases, the report said.

New warheads arrive 2017

The report indicated that the B61-12 nuclear warheads currently deployed at İncirlik would be changed with the new B61-3/4 warheads.

Former Turkish Air Force Commander Gen. Ergin Cilasun was quoted as saying that “Turkey’s nuclear strike duty within NATO has ended” in 2001.







Two pilots killed in Turkish military jet crash

Turkey’s state-run television says a fighter jet has crashed during a training flight, killing its two pilots.

The TRT television said the F-4 fighter jet crashed near the central Anatolian city of Konya, home to a large air base, today.

It says the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Thursday, November 3, 2011
ANKARA – The Associated Press

Turkey to rewrite software source codes of 204 F-16 fighters

The US administration agreed in principle almost two months ago for the transfer of information over software source codes of US Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighters to Turkey.

Once the agreement is completed, and if approved by the US Congress, Turkey will have the capability to automatically modify the software source codes of the fighters’ weapons systems with national software source codes, said US sources who asked not to be named.Turkey will become the first nation among 26 to have the F-16s in their inventories and have the ability to receive information on the F-16 fighters’ software source codes — primarily their weapons systems — thereby enabling it to replace them with national software source codes whenever necessary.

Once Turkey and the US complete around 50 pages of technical details over the nature of the US transfer of technology, an agreement should be signed, pending US congressional approval.

The US Congress has long prevented arms transfers to NATO member Turkey, mainly in reaction to its strained ties with Israel.

However, the US administration has as of late sought US congressional authorization for the sale of three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters to Turkey. This indicates a softening on the part of the congress toward Turkey.

Turkey has a long-standing request for Super Cobras. It has a shortage of these helicopters, required in its ongoing fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, who have increased their violent attacks as of late.

Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the US administration will seek US congressional authorization for another long-standing Turkish request for the sale of four Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and two armed Reaper UAVs.

However, some of the weapons, including Predators that the US reportedly pledged to transfer to Turkey as it withdraws from Iraq in December of this year, are said to not be subject to the approval of the US Congress. These are weapons the US used during its war in Iraq.

Missile defense link

US sources stated that Washington has agreed in principle to transfer the information mainly concerning the weapon systems of the F-16s so that Turkey can integrate by itself the national software source codes because Turkey has pursued a very persistent policy on the matter.

However, Turkey’s approval to deploy a radar system of the US-supported NATO Missile Defense System on its soil is understood to have played an important role in Washington’s agreement to in principle transfer the software source codes of mainly the weapons systems of the F-16s to Turkey. Turkey agreed last month to host a powerful US-supplied radar system to act as advanced eyes for a layered shield against ballistic missiles coming from outside Europe.

The AN/TPY-2 surveillance radar in Turkey will boost the shield’s capability against Iran, which Washington alleges is seeking to build nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

“By agreeing to transfer information on F-16 weapon systems so that Turkey could automatically integrate them with national software source codes, the US sought to ease tensions with its NATO ally, which is important in safeguarding US interests in the Middle East. The US also puts strong emphasis on seeing Turkish-Israeli relations normalize,” said the US source.

50 weapons systems on each F-16

Lockheed Martin this year began supplying Turkey with 14 F-16C variants and 16 F-16Ds under a deal signed in May 2007. The total cost of 30 additional F-16s to Turkey is $1.78 billion.

Under a separate agreement signed in April 2005 between Turkey and the US, 213 Turkish F-16s are being upgraded at a cost of $1.1 billion at the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara. Turkey will be able to change the software source codes of the weapons systems on a total of 204 F-16s with national software source codes if a final agreement is reached with the US.

There are 50 different types of weapons systems on each F-16 that are classified.




30 October 2011, Sunday / LALE KEMAL, ANKARA