Aselsan may assist with spy plane project

Aselsan may assist with spy plane project

Özgür Ekşi ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Aselsan may assist with spy plane project

An Awacs early warning plane is seen in this file photo. Turkey ordered four Boeing planes back in 2002. Hürriyet photo

Tension with Israel has pushed Turkey to move ahead with the “Peace Eagle” spy plane despite Israel’s refusal to deliver an electronic component for the plane. In order to complete the project, the development of which is led by U.S. aerospace giant Boeing, Turkish authorities have instructed local company Aselsan to produce an equivalent system.

Turkey had ordered four early warning airplanes in 2002. The planes, equipped with radar and electronic systems, were supposed be delivered by 2007, but none of them has been handed over so far. Israel’s refusal to deliver an electronic system used on the planes threatens to further delay the process. Turkish defense sources confirmed Israel’s position, but denied it would lead to further delays.

“Turkey ordered four planes and five electronic systems that Israel produces. Four systems will be used on the planes and the fifth will be kept as a backup. We have already received two of these systems, and they have been installed on two of the planes. So Israel cannot cause any delay with these two planes,” said an official who requested anonymity, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News.

Negotiation with Aselsan

“The Israeli system is an identifier. It receives hostile radar waves uses them to identify planes. In other words, it would be good to have this system on the planes, but it is not an essential part that could delay the program. We need three more systems for the remaining two planes. As we do not expect Israel to deliver the systems soon, we have taken our own precautions and have begun negotiations with Aselsan, which will develop similar systems using Turkish sources. One could ask why Aselsan did not take part from the very beginning. Developing such systems requires a degree of experience and capacity. The project was signed 10 years ago, and Aselsan did not have the capacity at that time, but now they do.”

The official said that acceptance tests for the planes have begun, and the aircraft will be delivered to the Turkish Air Force after the tests are completed in early 2013.