Finally: The First Maritime Surveillance Plane Officially Inaugurated
27 Jan 2013 Leave a comment
15 years after the project has started the first plane of the Meltem project was finally handed over to the Turkish Coast Guard on 23th January 2013. When the Meltem project started, this and this aircraft were not even on drawing boards. Since then they have taken off.
The plane TCSG-552 is the first of the three planes acquired for the surveillance missions. The planes of the coast guard are equipped with a side looking airborne radar (SLAR), AselFLIR-200, Ocean Master 400 radar. The remaining two planes will enter into service in 2013.
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.
- Meltem III: The purchase of ten ATR-72 ASW planes and integration of AMASCOS on to them. For Meltem (III) Aleina is the prime contractor. No aircraft has yet been delivered to the Navy and this stage of the project too encountered some delays already. It is possible that in the end Turkish Navy will get less than 10 planes.