Thales has completed delivery of initial standard maritime patrol aircraft under the Meltem II programme for Turkey, with four aircraft entering service between February and June 2012. Pierre Eric Pommellet, Executive Chairman of Thales Systèmes Aéroportés, officially handed over the aircraft during a ceremony at the Tusas Aerospace Industry (TAI) facility in Ankara attended by representatives of the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), the Turkish Naval Command, the Turkish Coast Guard Command, the local contractors involved in the programme – TAI, Aselsan, Havelsan and Milsoft – the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and the French embassy in Ankara.
Thales is prime contractor for the Meltem II programme, which calls for delivery of six maritime patrol aircraft for the Turkish Navy and three maritime surveillance aircraft for the Turkish Coast Guard. The aircraft are based on modified CASA CN-235 platforms. The programme also includes the provision of 10 additional maritime patrol systems for integration on ATR 72 aircraft in service with the Turkish Navy. Seven of these have already been delivered to the SSM. The 19 mission systems are based on Thales's AMASCOS solution (Airborne MAritime Situation & Control System).
The four initial standard aircraft underwent significant modifications to accommodate the mission system and have completed airworthiness qualification by the DGA in France. Turkish Navy pilots and aircrews have been trained with the new aircraft and mission systems and performed a series of test flights covering a range of operational mission profiles: surveillance, search and rescue, target designation, anti-surface warfare and antisubmarine warfare. On the basis of these test flights, the aircraft have been accepted into operational service.
The initial standard aircraft provide the Turkish Navy with an operational maritime patrol capability.
Mr Yakup TASDELEN, Department Head in SSM, said: “this delivery marks a true milestone in the development of our maritime patrol capability. The Turkish Navy can now rely on Thales state-of-the art solution to conduct their mission.”
Pierre Eric Pommellet emphasised: “the climate of confidence and dedication which drove Thales and its partners during the last couple of years and which made possible the delivery of a solution tailored to the operational need of our customer.” Pommellet added “Thales is now looking forward to delivering the next systems to the Navy and to the Coast Guard.”
This success marks a major milestone in the Meltem II programme and is a further endorsement of the high level of maturity of the AMASCOS solution. It consolidates Thales's market leadership in maritime patrol systems and its positioning as a world-class systems supplier and integrator offering a wide range of mission systems to meet the specific requirements of forces around the world.