An air-to-surface cruise missile developed for the F-35 fighter jet could be used with Turkey's national combat aircraft and attack UAVs, besides offered to countries which are part of the F-35 program.
Turkey’s industry and technology minister, Mustafa Varank said on Saturday that the SOM-J cruise missile jointly developed by the US and Turkey, will be deployed on local air assets following Ankara’s ouster from the F-35 program.
Speaking at a press briefing in Antalya he said, "If the countries in the F-35 program want to buy this type of cruise missile, we can easily sell these missiles even if we are out of the program."
The SOM-J is a, medium-range air-to-surface standoff cruise missile. Stealthy and precise, the SOM-J is designed for use against heavily defended, high-value anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and land targets. These include surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, strategic assets, command and control centers and naval vessels.
Turkey's locally produced SOM-J cruise missile can also be integrated into Akıncı UAVs produced by leading unmanned air system manufacturer Baykar Makina, said Varank, adding that the apex of the UAV project would be to produce unmanned combat aircraft.
Dubbed "the flying fish," the 5.5-ton Akıncı drone is expected to start test flights soon. The two-engine armed drone will be equipped with a domestically developed sightline and satellite communication system, electronic support pod, multipurpose air radar, synthetic aperture radar and meteorological radar. The platform will operate with various ammunition configurations.
The Akıncı system can reach an altitude of 40,000 feet and has the capability of flying for 24 hours straight. It has the capacity for a useful load of up to 350 kilograms. "This is the future of UAVs. I believe the Akıncı will have a huge multiplier effect in our defense industry," Varank said.
The TF-X National Combat Aircraft (MMU) is being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), to replace the F-16 aircraft, which are in the inventory of the Turkish Air Forces Command and will be gradually deactivated as of the 2030s.
The jet is on schedule to make its maiden flight in 2025. The fifth-generation jet has similar features to Lockheed Martin's F-35s jets. The aircraft has new generation features including low visibility, internal gun housing, high maneuverability, increased situational awareness and sensor fusion.
Earlier last month, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program over over Ankara's purchase of the S-400. The expulsion is to be completed by the end of March 2020.
The United States expelled Turkey from the F-35 program and blocked the sale of about 100 ordered stealth jets as a result of Israels effective lobbying of the same, Israeli media have reported. Officials from Jerusalem are said to have pressured Washington behind the scenes to oust Ankara from fighter jet program in bid to preserve military qualitative edge, Channel 12 reported Wednesday
With the US-Turkey F-35 Jet deal heading towards a possible collapse, Turkey is considering alternatives such as the Russian Su-57, Chinese J-31 or even accelerating the development of its own fighter jet. The US has stopped supply of parts to Turkish firms involved in the F-35 supply chain besides suspending pilot training for F-35s ‘delivered to Ankara but still based in the United States
The US has
Turkish Defense Minister on Monday announced that the country will receive second batch of Russian S-400 air defense systems on August 27. "The process of transporting and delivering the second battery of the S-400 to Turkey will begin tomorrow," Hulusi Akar, defense minister of Turkey, said in a live broadcast of NTV television channel
The Pentagon has ordered $2.4 Billion worth F-35 jet parts from Lockheed Martin in a deal seen as a fallout of Turkeys ejection from the F-35 program over S-400 row with the US
Lockheed Martin has won two contracts worth $44 million combined, for modification kits of US Navys F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. The first contract worth $32 million is for modification kits and special tooling for modification and retrofit of delivered F-35 fighters for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, the Pentagon announced
A joint military base of Turkish and Qatari forces in Qatar is set to be inaugurated in a couple of months. “A new base has been built
After Turkeys plan to procure F-35 stealth jets from USA failed to see the light of the day, Ankara could be turning towards Russia for Su-35 fighters, military officials have revealed. The officials tasked with rearming the Turkish Air Force suggested the Defense Ministry to consider Russias Su-35 offer after its expulsion from the F-35 program
Turkey is set to welcome the second batch of Russia's S-400 air defence systems in this month or in September, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday. "Work on choosing the deployment site and on installing S-400 air defence systems continues
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