Thursday, April 16, 2009

$219M for 10 Turkish ASW Aircraft

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Thales Sees Success in the First Flight of its Maritime Surveillance Programme in Turkey

On 18th June 2007 in Ankara (Turkey), Thales successfully launched the first flight of its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) #1 within the framework of the Meltem II Programme.

The Meltem contract, one of Europe's largest maritime surveillance programmes, was awarded to Thales in 2003 and involves the supply of nineteen aircraft equipped with sophisticated maritime patrol and surveillance systems for Turkey's Navy and Coast Guard.

Maritime surveillance aircraft are deployed for monitoring territorial waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), for detecting all forms of illicit trade and trafficking, accidental pollution and oil dumping, and for search and rescue operations.

This latest generation system will provide the customer with an effective maritime patrol and surveillance capability for the coming years. Nine systems will be integrated into existing CN235 aircraft operated by Turkish armed forces and a further ten into Alenia ATR72.

This is the first aircraft within the programme to be fitted with maritime surveillance capabilities and its Flight Physics configuration includes the Flight Test Instrumentation to perform aerodynamic/ aircraft performance tests.

This first flight is a major milestone demonstrating that Thales and its local partners have successfully designed and implemented the related modifications for an airworthy aircraft; and have reached in the process a level of maturity recognized by the French Procurement Agency (DGA), the Authority of Qualification.

Emmanuel Grave, Vice President and General Manager of Thales Aerospace commented, "This emblematic programme is well on track. We have enjoyed exceptionally good test results and we're looking forward to delivering this advanced surveillance and patrol system, especially developed for the Turkish Navy and Coast Guard at the beginning of 2010. "

The Thales solution is based on Amascos (Airborne Maritime Situation and COntrol System). The system is designed around a tactical command subsystem with a full range of latest-generation Thales sensors (radar, ESM and acoustic) and communication systems.

In addition to the Meltem programme, Amascos has been chosen by the Indonesian, Japanese, Pakistani and Malaysian forces.

As prime contractor for the Meltem programme, Thales is coordinating all the contributions by industry partners in France and other countries. Today the company is working hand in hand with Turkish industry, particularly in advanced technology areas. TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industry), in partnership with IAe (Indonesian Aerospace), have specified and are carrying out aircraft modifications. Aselsan is supplying equipment including self-protection systems, navigation systems, FLIRs, displays and radios. Havelsan is playing an active role in developing the tactical command system software.

Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide. Thales's leading-edge technology is supported by 22 000 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with forecast 2007 revenues in excess of EUR 12 billion.

Turkey's SSM defence procurement authority has signed a EUR 180 million ($219 million) contract to meet its Meltem 3 requirement for 10 maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, ordering a dedicated version of the ATR 72-500 regional transport turboprop called the ATR 72 ASW.

The aircraft will have a new glass cockpit and mission and sensor suite provided by Thales Airborne Systems, including a surveillance radar, electro-optical sensor, magnetic anomaly detector, acoustic processing system, and sonobuoy and armament launchers. The modified aircraft will have a maximum take-off weight of 22,500kg (49,600lb), and can loiter for 6 hours at 370km (200nm) from its base.

Alenia will conduct systems integration and installation work, as well as performing airframe modifications in Turkey with local companies. Certification of the new variant will be carried out by Italy's military authorities. Turkish engineers will also participate in the programme in Italy, providing the basis for a joint programme to provide in-service suppport for the aircraft.

Note that ATR is a 50-50 partnership between Finmeccania subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica and EADS.

Source : / Thales

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