30 Apr 2014 2 Comments
I am sure that the good people of Thales are in a celebration mood. Here is an excerpt form their press release:
Thales announces the delivery of the final standard for the maritime patrol aircraft to Turkey as part of the MELTEM II programme, for which Thales is the prime contractor. To this day, five of the six aircraft have been delivered to this standard, with the sixth set for delivery before the summer. This follows the three maritime surveillance aircraft which were sent to the Turkish coastguards last year.
Pierre Eric Pommellet, Senior Vice President of Thales in charge of Defence Mission Systems, officially handed over the delivery certificate for the aircraft to the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy. On this occasion, he highlighted the “strong relationships that have been established throughout the programme with Turkish industry partners, TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft. These have enabled the success of this aircraft transformation programme and pave the way for future partnerships between Thales and the Turkish industry. We’re focusing on developing this close cooperation and are very proud these maritime patrol aircraft reach a technological and operational standard of excellence. The Turkish Navy can now rely on Thales’s state-of-the-art AMASCOS solution to conduct their maritime patrol missions.”
16 years after the maritime patrol plane project has started and 12 years after Thales was contracted to deliver the AMASCOS, the five out of total six aircraft of the Meltem project were finally handed over to the Turkish Navy on 29 April 2014. I am quite sure that Thales and their Turkish partners have developed strong relationship in the last 12 years when they were working to get the things done. They had all the time in the world for building strong relationships.
Since the start of the Meltem has been beleaguered with delays. The project has 3 parts:
- Meltem I: The purchase of three CN-235′s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish Coast Guard and six CN-235′s in AsuW and ASW missions for Turkish Navy. This part of the project started in 1998 and ended in 2002.
- Meltem II: The integration of AMASCOS (Airborne MAritime Situation & Control System) and its sub components on the above mentioned planes. The Thales made AMASCOS was selected as the main C3I system for the above mentioned CN-235 planes back in 2002. Thales acts as the main contractor and Turkish companies TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft are acting as sub contractors. According to the contract the planes were to be in service in 2007. But the first modified plane made its maiden flight one year after the contractual delivery date. The aircraft started to enter into contemporary commission only in 2012 both in Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard. And in 2013 the planes for the Coast Guard were officially commissioned. Yesterday’s ceremony means that this phase is almost ended.
- Meltem III: When in 2008 the contract was signed for Meltem (III), Aleina was supposed to to deliver ATR-72 ASW planes and integrate the AMASCOS system and the sensors to them. 6 years later all we got are two ATR-72 TMU maritime utility aircraft and a reduction on total number of planes from 10 to 8 including the TMUA’s. The utility planes are by the way unarmed and have no sensors. So they are no good for hunting submarines.
I have told in then, I and I am telling it now, the Meltem acquisition project should be thought in business and project management courses as a case study as an example how not to run a project.