Finally: The First Maritime Surveillance Plane Officially Inaugurated

TCSG552

The first maritime surveillance plane for the Turkish Coast Guard entered into service. Photos: Savunma ve Strateji Forumu.

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.

More photos from the maritime surveillance plane:
tcsg552c
tcsg552b

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.

Turkish Navy Received ASW Training In France

Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft. Official French Navy Photo

Turkish Navy personel received training in France according to French internet naval portal Mer et Marine.

In order to maintain the necessary know-how for airborne ASW and AsuW missions, Ankara has thus called on twice in DCI-NAVFCO for operational training of two groups of six tactical coordinators. The mission of DCI – NAVFCO , naval component of the Défense Conseil International group, is to transfer French Navy know-how to requesting friendly foreign navies.

The Turkish officers were given a general upgrading of knowledge of anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare, and operational training at Naval Training Center of St. Mandrier. Later they received 6 weeks aviation training on the Nîmes-Garonne airbase. There the Turkish officers operated two Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft of the French Navy.

This training in France was a neceesity as Turkish Navy retired last Grumman S-2E Tracker ASW planes 16 years ago and 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

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.
The planed commissioning for CN-235 ASW planes is in 2011 and the scheduled delivery of the first ATR-72 ASW is in 2012.

>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.

>First flight of CN235 ASW for Meltem programme

>Ankara, 2 December 2008 – Thales announced on 2 December 2008 that the Turkish Navy’s future CN235 maritime patrol aircraft made its first flight.

Modified by Thales and industrial partners TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft, the aircraft features the AMASCOS system (Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) to provide Turkish naval forces with advanced anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Meltem is one the most ambitious maritime surveillance and patrol programme and consist of 3 parts.

Meltem (I) is the purchase of three CN235s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish Coast Guard and six CN235s in AsuW and ASW missions.

Meltem (II) is the integration of AMASOC and its sub components on the above mentioned planes.

Meltem (III) is 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 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.

I hope we start to see these planes to enter into the service soon.

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