Turkey has performed a successful first flight test with an indigenously-developed cruise missile design, which the nation hopes could eventually be integrated with its future fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Developed by the Defence Industries Research and Development Institute, or Tubitak Sage, the modular stand-off missile (SOM) design was released by a McDonnell Douglas F-4E 2020 strike aircraft on 9 August.

"The missile hit its target with a high accuracy by covering a distance of over 100nm [185km]," Tubitak Sage said.

 SOM from F-4 - Tubitak Sage

SOM flight - Tubitak Sage

All images © Tubitak Sage

The institute is displaying a full-scale model of the weapon at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London, UK.

In addition to the recent test involving the F-4E Phantom, Tubitak Sage is also currently working on the integration of the SOM design with the Lockheed F-16 Block 40 fighter for the Turkish air force.

Installation trials have already been performed (below), with the remaining work expected to conclude later this year. A production order is anticipated later, with this to potentially prompt interest from export customers, the institute said.

 SOM on F-16 - Tubitak Sage

Material released by Tubitak Sage describes the SOM as having a release weight of 600kg (1,300lb), including a high-explosive warhead weighing 230kg.

Intended targets for the turbojet-powered design are cited as including command and control facilities, surface-to-air missile sites, parked aircraft and surface ships.

Guidance is provided by using inertial navigation system/global positioning satellite equipment and a terrain-referenced navigation system, with the use of pre-programmed waypoints to avoid air defence assets.

During its terminal attack phase, the weapon's intended target is verified by using an imaging infrared seeker. Its accuracy is described as being "within a few metres".

 SOM cruise missile - Tim Bicheno-Brown
© Craig Hoyle/Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flightglobal
The SOM weapon could eventually arm Turkey's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters

"SOM is currently being developed as three variants, in accordance with the requirements of the Turkish air force," said Tubitak Sage. These include the provision of different warhead options.

Source: Flight International