A Thales-led programme to equip 19 Turkish navy and coastguard aircraft with new maritime surveillance equipment has made a significant advance, with the first flight of a modified EADS Casa CN-235 for the latter organisation.

Thales has released the first picture of the coastguard's first of three aircraft to be modified under Ankara's Meltem II project, and says the aircraft conducted its first flight in the upgraded configuration on 18 June.


Delivered in 2001, aircraft 551 has been modified for coastal surveillance tasks through the integration of the Thales Amascos mission system, with the work also to be performed on six CN-235s already in use by the Turkish navy.

The modified aircraft will be equipped with four operator stations to enable the management of on-board systems including a forward-looking infrared sensor and Thales Ocean Master radar. The 2002 deal also includes participation by Turkish firm Havelsan.

Thales meanwhile expects the Turkish navy's first of 10 Amascos-equipped ATR 72 maritime patrol aircraft to make its first flight late this year, with deliveries of the new aircraft to start in the third quarter of 2009.

The navy MPA programme is supported by Turkish Aerospace Industries.



Source: FlightGlobal.com