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>Turkish ASW Plane Spotted In Malta

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According to Air Forces Monthly magazine, Turkish Navy CN-235 MPA plane, TCB-652, now  with French test registration was photographed visiting Malta, back in November 2010.

Two years after the first flight of the aircraft the tests are still continuing.

The ASW plane acquisition project (also known as Meltem project) of Turkish Navy is a very long saga and consist of 3 parts:

  • Meltem (I): 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. This has been the only part completed so far.
  • Meltem (II): integration of AMASOC and its sub components on the above mentioned planes. Thales made AMASCOS(Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) was selected and 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.
  • Meltem (III): purchase of ten ATR-72 ASW planes and integration of AMASCOS on to them. For Meltem (III) Aleina is the prime contractor.

Turkish Airforce operates 50 CN-235 planes for troop and VIP transport, SIGINT/ELINT and CSAR missions. When this plane was chosen for the Meltem (I) project this decision was criticised.

The critics stated that CN-235 was not able to fulfill the operational demands of Turkish Navy as her performance was not up to this demands. When ATR-72 ASW plane was chosen from Meltem (III) the claims of the opponents seemed to be right.

Turkish Navy retired its last Grumman S-2E Tracker ASW planes 16 years ago and urgently needs patrol planes for maritime surveillance, monitoring territorial Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters, for detecting all forms of illicit trade and trafficking, accidental pollution and oil dumping, and for search-and-rescue operations.

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