Renewed violence prompts reconnaissance aircraft purchase
Burak BekdilA new wave of violence in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict has prompted Turkey’s military and defense procurement authorities to shop for a batch of reconnaissance aircraft which they hope will augment the military’s fight against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets.
“The recent incidents of violence and clashes [with the PKK] has both boosted and given pace to this requirement,” a defense procurement official said. “We were not planning to go into the market for this shopping so soon.”
Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), said July 31 that it was inviting “Requests for Information” – usually the first step of an official contract opening – for an unspecified number of “manned reconnaissance and observation aircraft.” SSM asked potential bidders to reply to the request no later than Aug. 12.
Procurement sources said the unspecified number of the aircraft to be acquired was five. They estimate the entire contract to be worth around $50 million, including systems to be outfitted but excluding logistical support for operations.
The Turkish military earlier operated a fleet of leased Beechcraft King Air aircraft for reconnaissance purposes.
An industry source said the planned aircraft would most probably be similar. “The personnel were trained for that type of aircraft. So the military will wish to minimize training costs and time for its planned purchase,” the source said.
Defense officials said this would essentially be a systems integration contract commissioning the contract winner to take an aircraft as primary base model and outfit it with the designated configuration including electro-optical sensors (a camera or gimbal), system operators and data links.
“The undertaker will also be required to offer supplemental type certificates necessary to fly the aircraft,” one source said.
Aselsan sigs TAI contract for indigenous copter
Turkey’s defense industry company Aselsan has announced the signing of a $68 million subcontractor deal with Turkey’s Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) for an ongoing domestic helicopter program being developed by the latter.
Announcing the matter in a filing to the stock exchange, Aselsan said the deal would have a positive impact on its balance sheet.
The Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC), a 50-50 partnership between Honeywell International Inc. and Rolls-Royce, has been selected by TAI to provide propulsion engines for the Turkish Light Utility Helicopter (TLUH) program.
TAI and LHTEC officials signed a memorandum of understanding at the Paris Air Show in June and will progress toward further discussions around a contract for CTS800 engines for the aircraft, LHTEC said in a written statement on June 16.
Under the TLUH Program, TAI will develop an indigenous five-ton, twin-engine utility helicopter, which will initially be certified by EASA, and then converted with mission equipment for Turkish military use.