As DID has previously noted, Boeing’s SLAM-ER is an advanced derivative of the Harpoon missile, and competes with precision attack missiles like Lockheed’s JASSM, and European missiles like the EADS Taurus KEPD 350 and the MBDA Storm Shadow. It is deployed with the US Navy, and will be deployed on the South Korea’s new F-15K Strike Eagles. Turkey will use the SLAM-ER as a medium-range standoff weapon on its F-16 aircraft, where it will complement the recently acquired but shorter-range Lockheed JSOW precision glide bomb. The order includes:
Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ received a $35.7 million ceiling priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0006). It exercises an option for the procurement of 127 AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-air missiles, 22 Captive Air Training Missiles that have the seeker head and electronics but no rocket motor, and 41 containers for the government of Turkey under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The sale is a logical counterpart to Turkey’s ongoing F-16 modernization program.
Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (84%); Rocket Center, WVA (13%); and Andover, MA (3%) and is expected to be complete in March 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
Reuters in Berlin reports that Germany has finalized a long-delayed deal to sell 298 surplus Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Turkey. German defense group Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) will now modernize the tanks and prepare them for sale. This move is just the latest step in a massive German fire-sale that has made second-hand Leopard 2s the standard tank of European armies, and may be positioning KMW for a consolidation leadership role within the European defense market. The sale also reflects a new willingness to sell arms to Turkey, and some sources speculate that this move may have been influenced by that country’s upcoming EU membership negotiations.
Back on August 15, 2005, DID noted the revival of Turkey’s on-again, off-again attack helicopter buy. The program has been plagued by a combination of political hesitancy and contract demands from the Turkish government that have killed past deals. Meanwhile, the program has been scaled back from 145 helicopters to just 50 – and now Turkish Daily News reports that procurement of an initial batch of 30 attack helicopters is facing fresh delays and a possible decision by the leading contender not to bid.
Turkey has become concerned that its limited number of helicopter gunships – 7 AH-1W Super Cobras and about 20 earlier AH-1 Cobra versions – may fail to meet the military’s operational requirements given that the Kurdish terrorist PKK resumed its attacks in May 2005. Yet the problems they face are almost wholly of their own making.
Back on May 6/05, DID discussed Turkey’s $1.1 billion agreement with the U.S. government to upgrade its 200+ F-16s to a common Block 40-50 configuration. Now Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX has received an $83.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide for Peace Onyx III, the Government of Turkey F-16 Modernization Program. Solicitation began June 2005, and work will be complete by July 2006. The Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8615-05-C-6002).
Sikorsky Aircraft recently announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Turkey for 12 new S-70B Seahawk helicopters to bring its fleet total to 20, plus an option for 5 additional helicopters. First deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2008. While a price was not disclosed, GlobalSecurity.org notes that H-60 variants tend to cost between $6-12 million each.
Turkey has expressed interest in buying Eurofighters to meet the Turkish Air Force’s increasing need for fighter jets until deliveries of the U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program actually begin. Turkey joined the F-35 JSF program in July 2002 and has expressed interest in up to 100 planes, but the F-35’s delivery to the Turkish Air Force isn’t scheduled until about 2015. In contrast, the Eurofighter is currently in production. More than 200 F-16 aircraft make up the backbone of Turkey’s current fighter fleet. A team of Turkish Air Force pilots, led by a colonel, test flew three Eurofighter jets in Italy on Feb. 22. They also test flew a C27J transport aircraft.
Last month Turkey’s defense officials pushed the button for a huge consolidation plan when Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI), the country’s second largest defense company, and Turkish Aircraft Industries (TUSAS), TAI’s parent company, agreed to merge under a single corporate identity. TAI and TUSAS formalized the merger plan at their extraordinary general meeting of Feb. 18, 2005. TAI assembled F-16 fighter jets at its plant in the 1980s and 1990s, and presently manufactures parts for Boeing Co. of Chicago and U.S. helicopter maker Sikorsky. The company also is a participant in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter and Future Large Aircraft programs.
Now the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) plans to create a Turkish Defense Industry Holding Inc., or Turk Savunma Sanayi Holding A.S., as a parent entity for the country’s top defense companies presently owned by the government and/or the military.