Turkish ASW plane Spotted In Malta

Turkish CN-235 ASW plane under French registration in Mlata on 9th November 2011. Photo: Neil Psaila

If I do not see photos of the CN-235 ASW planes every now and then I would think that the project is dead and everyone have forgotten it.

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): Constructione of three CN-235’s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish Coast Guard and six CN-235’s for AsuW and ASW missions. This has been the only part of the whole MELTEM project, completed so far. All the nine planes were manufactured and delivered between 1998-2003.

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.

Because of the delays in this project Thales accepted to pay fines to Turkey.

Following the discussions initiated in early 2010 on the Meltem maritime patrol aircraft program, Thales and the Turkish Ministry of Defence signed an agreement on 3 March 2011. As expected at the end of 2010, this agreement rescopes all engineering and schedule aspects of the contract. It also provides for financial compensation to be paid by Thales (penalties and extra work to be undertaken free of charge). Consequently, the financial assumptions taken into account in the 2010 financial statements were maintained at 30 June 2011.

Meltem (III): purchase of ten ATR-72 ASW planes and integration of AMASCOS on to them. For Meltem (III) Aleina is the prime contractor.

Under Meltem III Program, the first ATR72-500 aircraft arrived at  Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), on 14th February 2008. The contract of the Meltem III program, covering the procurement of a total of 10 ATR72-500 aircraft and their change into Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) configuration for the Turkish Navy was signed between Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A and TAI on December 21, 2005. Alenia has started to manufacture the planes. But the stage of the integration of ASW suite is not clear.

In my humble opinion the project is as disastrous as the Pananikolis project of the neighbor.

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