Savunma ve Stratejik Analizler

24 Ağustos 2012 Cuma

Turkey Seeks Improved Jamming Capabilities

Possible Turkish Air Forces SOJ Aircraft
  August 22 2012


ANKARA Recent political incidents, especial­ly the downing of a Turkish reconnaissance jet by Syria, have given urgency to efforts to im­prove the Turkish Air Forces standoff jammer capabilities.

Following the release of a request for pro­posals in May, the programs prime contractor, Aselsan, started receiving preliminary briefin­gs from potential foreign contenders who would supply the systems.

The contract is structured as direct pro­curement of airborne platforms and local sys­tem integration, a procurement official famil­iar with the program said. The system integra­tion will be carried out by Aselsan, but Turkish officials expect competition among around half a dozen foreign aircraft manufacturers. Industry officials said potential contenders could include Bombardier, Embraer, Antonov, Gulfstream, Airbus and Boeing.

The same procurement official estimated the final cost of the standoff jammer program at about $1 billion. Of that, the official said, about 25 to 35 percent will go to the aircraft manu­facturer and the rest will be spent on local sys­tems integration.

The procurement official said an initial batch of four aircraft would be procured and the fi­nal purchase could reach eight. The proposed system will have a range of 200 kilometers.

The standoff jammers will be designed to en­able Turkish military aircraft to conduct sur­veillance on and jam enemy radars and com­munications networks during offensive air­borne operations against target countries, ac­cording to the programs official description.

In the most recent incident, Syria on June 22 downed a Turkish reconnaissance jet because it had violated its airspace. Turkey responded that although the RF-4E had momentarily vio­lated the Syrian airspace, the aircraft was on a training mission to test the Turkish radars and was shot down in international airspace.

Turkey and Syria have been at odds since the fall, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began spearheading interna­tional efforts to depose Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. The row emerged after al-Assad be­gan to violently suppress riots in Syria last year. Before the downing of the Turkish jet, Turkey locked horns with Cyprus and Israel over the two countries efforts to explore hy­drocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey has pledged to increase its aerial and naval military presence in that region.

In the mid-1990s, Aselsan, Turkeys biggest defense company, produced and delivered the JAMINT-2U, a jammer system designed for the Turkish C-160 military transport air­craft. And under a 2009 contract, Aselsan produced its JAMINT 3 V/UHF Tactical Communications Jammer System.

A defense analyst here said VHF/UHF ra­dio communications are an essential ele­ment in the command and control of forces on the modern battlefield.

Disruption of [the] enemys communica­tions links in critical situations means an ef­fective force multiplier, he said.

JAMINT-3 operates in the VHF/UHF fre­quency band to intercept and analyze ene­my communication channels and apply jam­ming to certain channels as instructed by the Command Center. It consists of a four­wheel-drive vehicle and a single-axle trailer. The analyst said it was not clear how fast the Turkish procurement mechanism would progress with the standoff jammer program. But there is an understanding in higher echelons of the procurement and military bureaucracy to give priority to this pro­gram, he said. Especially the generals think they need the jammers as quickly as possible to increase airborne deterrence. The political climate surrounding Turkey also justifies this requirement.

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