The Turkish navy's first of six EADS Casa CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft to receive a Thales mission system has made its modified debut flight from a Tusas Aerospace Industries facility.
Modified to carry Thales's Amascos mission system under Ankara's Meltem 2 project, the aircraft will be used for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare tasks. In addition to TAI, other local partners on the modification programme include Aselsan, Havelsan and Milsoft, says Thales.
A further three modified CN-235s will provide exclusive economic surveillance for the Turkish coastguard. The first of these flew for the first time in June 2007. As shown in the below pictures, the new navy variant is visually different, as it features an extensive countermeasures suite, including sensors positioned above its cockpit.
Both images © Tusas Aerospace Industries
A follow-on Meltem 3 effort will also equip the Turkish navy with 10 ATR 72/500s carrying the Amascos system (artist's impression below), with the project also involving airframe supplier Alenia Aeronautica.
© Alenia Aeronautica
The French and Italian companies are now marketing the modified ATR 72 to meet maritime patrol and other requirements in nations including Algeria, Greece, Italy, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, says Thales. "We are expecting favourable decisions on many of the current procurement programmes," claims Jean-François Henrio, Thales's vice-president, mission airborne solutions.