Turkey gets its first airborne intel system

Turkey gets its first airborne intel system

Turkey gets its first airborne intel system

President Abdullah Gül took part in the ceremony to mark the delivery of the aircraft at the 3rd Main Jet Base in Konya Feb 21. AA photo

Turkey has improved its self-defense capabilities with the delivery of the first Peace Eagle Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (AEW&C) for the Turkish Armed Forces by Boeing to the Konya Air Base.

The AEW&Cs are an important milestone in Turkey’s air defense, President Abdullah Gül said Feb. 21, addressing a ceremony to mark the delivery of the aircraft at the 3rd Main Jet Base in Konya.

Turkey will use the aircraft with its allies whenever needed, the president said, noting that the AEW&Cs were sophisticated aircraft and they could target any threat not only from aircraft and missiles, but also all other threats from the air.

Turkey plans to absolutely end its external dependence in the defense industry, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. “We see this issue as a matter of life for our future.”

The Turkish Armed Forces now has advanced airborne surveillance and battle management capabilities and can simultaneously track airborne and maritime targets with the first of four AEW&C aircraft it has received from Boeing.

The high-tech aircraft will make air and sea reconnaissance within a maximum range of 600 kilometers.

Boeing delivered the aircraft to Konya Air Base, the fleet’s main operating base, with additional compensation due to delivery delays.

Turkey reportedly secured Boeing’s agreement to increase the project’s initial support period from two to five years along with software support for three years and auxiliary equipment amounting to $32 billion.

The AEW&C is based on the Boeing 737-700 airplane. Two more AEW&C aircraft are to be delivered this year, with the fourth in 2015. In addition to the aircraft, the Peace Eagle program includes ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Turkey joins Australia and South Korea as operators of AEW&C platforms.