Alenia Aermacchi will deliver its first of two ATR 72-600 maritime utility aircraft to the Turkish navy during June, with the service to receive six maritime patrol examples by late 2018.

"The new programme schedule, aircraft number and configuration is based on an amendment signed last year to a previous contract awarded to Alenia Aermacchi, as prime contractor by the Turkish undersecretary for defence industries [SSM]," says Maurizio De Mitri, senior vice-president of the company's military aircraft sector.

Under its original Meltem 3 programme deal with the SSM, Alenia Aermacchi and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) were to deliver 10 ATR 72-500s in an anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare configuration (below), including the Thales Amascos mission system.

 Old ATR 72-500 Turkey - Alenia Aermacchi

Alenia Aermacchi

Confirmed during a joint press conference between the companies at the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul on 8 May, the platform switch agreed last year will provide aircraft with a new glass cockpit and more powerful engines. The -600 will also have new equipment including an automatic identification system, Link 16 datalink and weapons including the Mk 54 lightweight torpedo requested by the Turkish navy.

"The contract amendment also regarded a performance-based logistic support package for the first two aircraft, provided locally by Turkish company BoraJet," De Mitri says. "The first two ATR 72-600s, already in the modification phase at Alenia Aermacchi's plant in Naples Capodichino, will be delivered in a utility version for personnel and cargo transport, respectively in June and July."

The first "green" ATR 72-600 due to be converted to the maritime patrol configuration by TAI arrived in Turkey during April, and is being modified. Following its next flight in 2015, the platform will be transferred in Italy, where Alenia Aermacchi will be responsible for completing testing and certification activities. The navy's first example will be delivered in February 2017, with the remainder to follow before the end of 2018, De Mitri says.

Alenia Aermacchi and TAI also used the IDEF to sign a memorandum of understanding to expand their industrial and commercial co-operation. The first aspect of the agreement covers efforts to jointly explore new markets for the modified ATR 72-600.

Source: Flight International