Turkish missile manufacturer Roketsan is preparing to unveil a guided version of its popular TR-122 Sakarya multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), TR Defence sources confirmed on Tuesday.
The new version has the same range, composite rocket engine and warhead options as its unguided twin but also features a new passive laser seeker that allows the artillery rocket to home in on targets designated by a third party from a safe distance.
“We can now hit targets with pinpoint accuracy. All (that is) needed is someone to paint the target so that it knows exactly where to strike,” a Roketsan employee familiar with the program said on condition of anonymity.
Sakarya II can be guided to its target during the terminal stage of its flight by an UAV or another aerial asset, or an infantry element with a mobile target designator.
“It is now capable of engaging both stationary and moving targets… a world-leading technology in its class,” added the employee.
TR Defence has learned that field tests of the new version are underway and results so far have been promising. Roketsan is expected to officially unveil the new product later in the year and offer it for both TSK use and export.
Six PKK terrorists have been killed on Wednesday after an attack was launched by the group on a gendarme command in the Bitlis province. Four soldiers were also injured during the clashes with the PKK group.
The PKK terrorists initiated an armed attack on Hizan district’s gendarmerie command on Wednesday morning. The soldiers retaliated and a clash between the sides pursued. Four soldiers were injured and six terrorists were killed during the armed conflict.
The wounded soldiers were taken to Tatvan military hospital via helicopter. One of the soldiers, whose condition was critical, was referred to another hospital in the Van province.
Security forces have launched an operation to track the terrorists in the region.
In a separate attack on Wednesday, PKK terrorists commenced fire on a minibus carrying police officers in the eastern province of Iğdır. The incident occurred at around 11 a.m. near the Taşburun village. The police officer named O.Ş. was injured in the attack and was taken to Iğdır State Hospital.
Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist organization had been fighting the Turkish government for an independent state until the early 2000’s. The group then shifted its goal to autonomy in predominately Kurdish inhabited regions of Turkey.
The PKK announced on July 11 that the cease-fire which was declared via a message from the PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan in 2013 has ended.
It couldn’t fare too well against US counterparts in South Korea and the bid in Poland remains iffy, but Turkey’s T-129 attack helicopter can soon find its first export customer in Africa, the old continent.
According to reports coming directly from Nigeria as well as leaks from the IDEF’15. a popular international defense industry fair, Nigeria has shown great interest in Turkey’s T-129 attack helicopters to help its forces fight the rising threat Boko Haram poses in the country’s north.
T-129 is generally considered to be a more “cost-effective” platform when compared to heavier choppers such as the AH-64 Apache as it provides comparable capabilities at a faction of the cost. T-129 can fire Hellfires or Turkey’s own MIZRAK-U antitank missiles, Cirit laser guided rockets and Stinger/Igla anti-aircraft missiles. It features a 20mm automatic three-barrel cannon and an helmet mounted cueing system that allows the pilot to guide the cannon where he’s looking and engage targets.
Nigeria is already a long time customer of Turkish weapon platforms, such as Otokar’s Cobra armored personnel carriers, and has a close political and economic relationship with Turkey.
Turkey was previously alleged by various sources to have shipped light weapons and firearms to Islamist militans in Nigeria, but the allegations were successfully discredited and proven to be untrue.
Turkish military electronics giant Aselsan has unveiled a new active protection system, dubbed AKKOR (short for Aktif Koruma) at the IDEF’15 international defense fair in Istanbul. The system is intended primarily to provide Turkey’s indigenous Altay tanks with a hard-kill self defense capability, but it can also be used aboard AIFVs, APCs and other armored vehicles.
AKKOR features an impressive reaction time of only 1/15th of a second, allowing it to effectively defend the host platform against rockets and missiles fired from a distance as close as 50 meters (164 feet). It consists of three main components: a central processing unit that functions as the brain of the whole system, four M-band radar sensors and, typically, two projectile launchers capable of firing four smart interceptors. Each radar sensor continuously scans a 100-degree arc, creating a full 360 degree detection capability with some overlap. AKKOR’s radar plates, in their current configuration, can detect incoming threats with an elevation of up to 75 degrees, but vehicles can be integrated with an additional sensor on the roof as well for protection against top-attack missiles such as the Javelin.
What sets AKKOR apart from its competition is its smart interceptor. Most other hard-kill active protection systems detect an incoming threat, calculate its trajectory, find out when it will arrive at a certain point in space, and then fire a bunch of projectiles, typically steel balls (like a shotgun pellets), toward that general direction hoping that at least one of the steel balls will hit the threat and destroy it before it can make contact with the host platform. This technique, while simple and efficient, doesn’t protect against the newer generation, variable-velocity rockets and missiles that are designed to trick an active protection system into firing too early or too late, and consequently missing.
AKKOR, on the other hand, goes one step further. First, just like a legacy active protection system, it detects a threat, calculates its trajectory and aims towards a point in its path to intercept it — within a deviation allowance of less than 1 degree. Then, instead of firing a swarm of steel balls like its competition, AKKOR launches a single smart interceptor with its own on-board sensor, jointly developed by TUBITAK SAGE, and a high explosive warhead. Once activated, the interceptor continuously measures the distance between itself and the incoming threat during its short flight, detonates the high explosive warhead when it determines that it’s closest to the threat and effectively destroys it, all within the span of about one to two seconds. This method ensures the highest hit probability and effectiveness against both older and the newest generation anti-tank rockets and missiles.
“We’ve begun AKKOR’s development back in 2008 and successfully demonstrated the core technology behind it in a prototype back in 2010.” an Aselsan engineer explained at IDEF’15. “At the time, AKKOR proved effective against a HAR-55 projectile, also known as the M72 LAW.”
Aselsan aims to finish the development of the AKKOR system in time to field it aboard Turkey’s Altay main battle tanks and other armored vehicles. A lighter version, dubbed AKKOR Lite, and a naval version, AKKOR Naval, are being designed for use aboard lighter vehicles and by the navy respectively.
Aselsan hopes to sign a contract in the second half of 2015 with Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, the SSM, for further field tests. Serial production is expected to start in 2017 so that the system be can made available for the country’s first batch of 250 Altay main battle tanks.
Following firm orders from the Turkish Armed Forces and the Middle East, missile manufacturer Roketsan is now pitching its Cirit lightweight precision rocket system in Europe.
Cirit is a highly cost-effective weapon system that combines the precision of a laser guided multi-purpose missile with the low price and availability of a 2.75″ rocket.
“There will be a large defence fair in Germany that Turkey will also participate. We want to carry Cirit’s success on to European markets. We hope that this coming fair in Europe will be a good opportunity for Cirit to show itself to new potential buyers” said Mr. Selcuk Yasar, Roketsan’s general manager.
“Cirit has recently finished qualification trials in the United Arab Emirates,” he added.
Last February, Roketsan was successful in securing a $196 million contract with the UAE for a total of 10,000 laser-guided Cirit rockets at the IDEX defence fair in Abu Dhabi. The rockets are to be used primarily aboard UAE’s AT-802 airplanes.
Combat Proven Capability
In the meantime, Roketsan continues to deliver an unspecified number of Cirit rockets to the Turkish Land Forces command. These rockets have been delivered in special smart launchers that are installed in remote, Kalekol-class outposts along Turkey’s south eastern border. These systems have been extremely effective in combating terrorism and illegal smuggling.
In addition to being used by airplanes, UAVs, helicopters and even land-based launchers, Turkey is also adapting Cirit to be used aboard naval platforms. The laser homing, 14-kg guided rocket provides lethal precision strike capability against fast attack crafts and similarly sized platforms at a range of 8 kilometers (5 miles).
Located in the small town of Arifiye, Sakarya is a modern factory with huge expectations from the future that has just recently celebrated its 50th birthday. Engineered and produced locally, the Cobra armored vehicle produced by this factory is now in use by 19 countries and the UN. Of course, we’re talking about a rising Turkish pride, Otokar! Developer of the Turkish main battle tank Altay and a growing family of other armored vehicles for the Turkish and allied armed forces.
Otokar’s general manager Serdar Gorguc explains that they’re constantly striving to increase their product portfolio with cutting-edge, capable vehicles that don’t only meet today’s requirements, but can take on the challenges of tomorrow as well.
Gorguc gave Ural, it’s lightest armored vehicle to date, as an example. “Ural is used by the police force. Even though it’s a very new vehicle, the contract for production was promptly signed.”
All this clearly shows the growing worldwide prestige and reliability of Otokar’s product line.
“We have high expectations from the Ural internationally as well. It is a high performance, multifunctional vehicle designed to tackle an array of missions” said Gorguc.
He said that the Cobra vehicle has become an icon of its own throughout the world, even in use by the UN peace forces in various African countries.
Why is cobra so successful? Because it provides best in class protection to its occupants at a cheaper price tag than its competitors. It’s not rocket science, it’s armor science.
Turkey’s national pride: The Altay
“Turkey has gained important international recognition with the Altay project,” Gorguc said.
“Very few countries are capable of designing and manufacturing their own tanks. Entering this elite club, Altay has turned the attention onto Turkey in many regards,” he added.
Tulpar is another important project of Otokar’s. It’s an armored infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) designed to not only safely transport troops in a battlefield environment, but also augment and support Turkey’s main battle tanks with its cutting edge electro-optical sensors and daring fire power.
“Tulpar was developed to go along with the Altay main battle tank. It will carry soldiers to and from the battle zone. It was designed fully NATO compatible with the world’s highest quality standards. It’s currently under vigorous tests, but we have extremely high expectations from it. We’re developing it with primarily Turkey’s military needs in mind but with an eye on a lot of exports as well” Gorguc added.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday that his government and US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft had signed a long-dormant contract to co-produce an initial batch of 109 utility helicopters.
“We signed the $3.5 billion agreement today,” Erdogan said in televised remarks during a ceremony for the delivery by Boeing of Turkey’s first airborne early warning and control aircraft. “This [Sikorsky deal] was an important signing ceremony for us.”
In May, Turkey’s procurement office made an unusual announcement: Turkey “had come very close to signing a $3.5 billion contract with Sikorsky Aircraft for the co-production of scores of utility helicopters.” But penning the deal had since been delayed as top Turkish procurement management accused “US corporate and other bureaucracy” for factors that caused delays.
Turkey in 2011 selected Sikorsky as its partner company to lead production of the country’s next-generation utility helicopters. Sikorsky defeated Italian-British AgustaWestland by bidding its T-70, the Turkish version of its S-70 Black Hawk International.
The S-70 Black Hawk International is used by dozens of militaries, including Turkey. AgustaWestland was competing with its TUHP 149, the Turkish version of its newly developed A-149.
The first batch will be for 109 utility helicopters, but with follow-on orders, more than 600 platforms could be built at a cost of more than $20 billion, defense analysts said.
Most helicopters in the first batch will go to the military, with the Gendarmerie receiving the largest portion, and the Army, Navy, Air Force and the special forces command each getting their share. The remaining machines will go to the Security Directorate, meaning the police forces, and to the Firefighting Department.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) has lost a potential deal to supply tank engines to Turkey because of restrictions that remain in place on Japan’s military exports, officials in Turkey and Japan said.
The development shows the limits of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s effort to dismantle a near total ban on Japanese weapons exports that has shut the country’s defense contractors out of overseas markets since World War Two.
Abe is pushing to ease the terms of Japan’s self-imposed weapons export restrictions in part to lower Japan’s defense procurement costs as part of a bid to build a more robust military to counter the rising regional power of China.
Mitsubishi Heavy had been under consideration to supply engines for the Altay tank being developed by Turkey’s Otokar (OTKAR.IS) since last year.
But on Thursday Murad Bayar, Turkey’s undersecretary for state-run defense industries, told reporters that the potential deal had been quietly dropped in talks with Tokyo.
“We have agreed with Japanese authorities to leave this topic off the agenda and focus on other areas of co-operation,” Bayar said.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had raised the issue of Japan’s co-operation in supplying tank engines when Abe visited Ankara in May. The approach by Erdogan sparked a round of talks between officials from the two countries and a visit to Turkey by Japanese engineers, officials in Japan said.
A spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy said the company had no comment because the discussions were a “government matter.”
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, said on Friday that he was not aware of the status of the talks with Turkey but said any agreements would be based on the policies that limit Japan’s military.
Japan, which renounced the right to wage war in its postwar constitution, effectively banned arms exports in 1967.
Under new guidelines being developed by Abe’s coalition government, exports would be approved by the trade ministry if they were judged to serve peaceful missions or if joint development of a weapon was deemed to enhance national security, a person with knowledge of the review has told Reuters.
But the more lax arms exports standards under consideration by the Abe administration would still carry a requirement that Japan be consulted before weapons using Japanese technology were exported to other countries.
Talks with Turkey on the Altay tank broke down on that point at the working level, officials in Japan told Reuters. Turkey has hoped to export the Altay to other countries.
In a deal announced last month, India became the first country to agree to buy military aircraft from Japan since the war. Under the preliminary deal worth an estimated $1.65 billion, ShinMaywa Industries (7224.T) would supply amphibious aircraft to India’s military.