Israeli Herons arrive as Turkey eyes armed UAVs

December 7th, 2008  

Topic: Israeli Herons arrive as Turkey eyes armed UAVs

Israeli Herons arrive as Turkey eyes armed UAVs
Last weekend saw the delivery of two of the 10 long-delayed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Turkey had purchased from Israel as Ankara reportedly showed interest in buying at least one armed Harpy2 UAV from Tel Aviv, signaling that it might abandon an earlier plan to buy one US-made Predator.

Turkish defense industry sources close to the UAV program confirmed to Today’s Zaman that two of the Heron UAV systems had arrived in Turkey. This is expected be followed by the delivery of the remaining eight systems.
The arrival of the first two Herons came after a delay of over a year due to the late completion of local Aselsan’s electro-optical payloads (Aselfir300T) that were to be installed on the Herons. Harmonization problems that initially occurred between the air vehicles and Israeli Elbit ground systems also delayed the delivery of the Herons, said the same sources. Turkey signed a $183 million contract with Israel’s IUP consortium (then Israeli Aircraft Industries and Elbit Systems) in 2005 for the delivery of 10 Heron UAVs.
IUP is responsible for the installed performance and delivery of the Aselflir300T payloads developed by Aselsan.
As a stop-gap measure, the Under- secretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) purchased three Israeli Aeronautics-made tactical Aerostar UAVs in addition to an Israeli Aerospace Industries Searcher Tactical UAV bought to replace a Heron UAV that crashed in July of this year while on a mission in the Southeast.
In a related development, Today's Zaman learned that Turkey may have now shifted its interest from US-made Predator UAVs, which can be configured into armed UAVs, to Israeli-made armed Harpy2 UAVs.
"Turkey needs at least one armed UAV," said a local industry source.
Despite an earlier acknowledgement by a Turkish commander that Ankara plans to buy a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator UAV, the SSM is understood to have been delaying its official proposal to the US company for the purchase of a Predator, said the same source.
Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner acknowledged at a press conference on Oct. 27 that Turkey plans to buy a US-made UAV, noting that one Predator UAV is currently at the disposal of the Turkish military and has been gathering intelligence on the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), mostly in northern Iraq.
If purchased, the US has pledged to supply Turkey with the system within 18 months.
However, Turkey shifted its focus to the Israeli Harpy after Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül was introduced an armed UAV during his visit to Israel in late October. That development may have influenced Turkey to go to Israel for the purchase of an armed UAV, said a Turkish defense industry source.
The Herons that Israel has begun supplying Turkey with have the capability of gathering intelligence, but they are not configured to be fitted with arms, said another industry source.
Since the US supply of real-time intelligence to Turkey began in December 2007, Turkish jets have been staging air strikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq, supported by artillery and mortar fire from within Turkey. UAVs play a significant role in gathering intelligence about PKK activities in northern Iraq.

05 December 2008, Friday

December 8th, 2008  
we dont have armed UAVs
December 8th, 2008  
I thought 'Harpy' was an anti-radiation drone?

Anyway, I think Turkey should procure the Predator system, since it's a tried and proven platform and TuAF already has experience operating it for recon and ELINT/SIGINT. That'd be the ultimate stop-gap solution until Turkey's own TIHAs roll out. Predator's 25,000 feet flight ceiling should be enough for most of the mountainous southeast. IMO, Turkey also should have participated in the nEUROn project, but unfortunately the folks at the MoD and SSM have vision problems and can't see 2 inches past their noses. Their brains still operate in the 90's world.

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