New Targeting Pod for F-16s(AselPOD)

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Unread post06 Nov 2015, 17:38

After a long development, integration, and testing process, Turkish Electronics/Military Hardware producer Aselsan's AselPOD targeting pod is finally certified on Turkish F-16s and could be operational on TuRAF F-16s and also on F-4/2020s as well. The flight testing of the pod was first started on a TuRAF CN-235 for initial qualifications and checks. Then, it later progressed to F-4E/2020 and F-16s. The pod was also sent to Lockheed Martin for software integration and testing work which is completed in Lockheed's F-16 SIL in Texas. TuRAF/Aselsan agreement covers 4 (prototypes)+16 serial productions pods initially. TuRAF has been operating 40 LANTIRN(Navigation and Targeting) pods since 1994 and also purchased 30 SNIPER and 30 modernized LANTIRN-ER(only navigation) pods for the PO-IV project that 30 new F-16 Block-50+ have been delivered to TuRAF in 2011.

More info: ... geting-pod

Video which is released by Aselsan:


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Unread post07 Nov 2015, 06:31

I liked the video. I am curious why any national government funds the development of low volume military gear. Turkey also has a long term project to develop a fighter.




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Unread post08 Nov 2015, 04:56

talkitron wrote:

I liked the video. I am curious why any national government funds the development of low volume military gear. Turkey also has a long term project to develop a fighter.

I think there could be several reasons that can explain Turkey's desire to design and develop certain items locally. My answer will be a little long if you don't mind. One of the reasons is to reduce dependence on foreign weapon systems as much as possible. It is about politics between countries. Even though Turkey is a member of NATO and close ally of US, time to time there has been conflict of interest between Turkey and US in general. This conflict of interest resulted in delayed weapon deliveries or some case even rejections to Turkey by US or some other NATO members in the past. Especially in certain technologies such mission computers, certain sensors, software, or missile technologies are considered critical technologies and (understandably )protected by export laws. For example, even purchasing a flir system with laser designator capability (for use in locally produced UAVs) requires special permissions from US Goverment (for ITAR or MTCR conditions). As you may know laser designators can be used for guiding laser guided weapons and it is considered a critical technology by the MTCR agreement. You cannot use this flir/laser designator system to fire bombs/missiles from locally produced tactical or MALE class UAVs. As a side note, China is flooding weaponized CH-3/4 UAVs to the market and Iraq, Nigeria, SuadiArabia have already purchased these armed UAVS from China with no hassle/condition.

There is also economical reasons to produce such systems. Turkey has a young educated population, research and development cost of certain weapon systems( we are not talking about designing a spacecraft) are cheaper than the US or some other EU contries. Depending on complexity and technological level of a system, these local investment are considered affordable, especially, if there is a local know-how to produce similar systems. Turkish company Aselsan has been investing heavily on local production of E/O sensors( nigth vision systems, optics, lenses etc), laser range finders/degisnators and thermal cameras, helmet mounted display systems etc. Aselsan now produces IR array detectors locally, the most critical technology in thermal camera business. Aselsan first produced AF200 with license from Rayheon, then developed its own AF-300 series E/O gimbal for local UAV ANKA and attack helo T-129. So, Aselsan has gained know-how and technology from these previous projects befor estarting AselPOD development. If I remember correctly, the contract amount to develop AselPOD systems was about 55 million $(design, development of 4 prototype pods). It is not 100% Turkish made locally but a few the subsystems of AselPOD are purchased form US or EU companies as COST items. I remember the bidding process of buying 20+ LITENING-III pods for Turkish F-4E/2020 aircraft. Rafale from Israel was asking about additional 15-20 million dolars for integration money in addition to the cost of selling 20 pods. Also, over the life cycle of these sensors ( and weapons), need upgrades every 10 years due to development of new technologies and being obsolate over the time . So, designing and producing locally could be expensive initially but over the life cycle, it could be cheaper. Again Turkey's low engineering and production cost, and using COST items as much as possible in the development process make this strategy cost effective and works.

Turkish defense industry produces many other sensors and weapon systems locally, some of them are unknown to the forum members. For example, in the A-G ammunition area, HGK(equivalent of JDAM but has 4 moving fins, instead of 3 in JDAM) was developed almost 10 years ago and in the serial production now. KGK( winged attached HGK) is in the last stages of certification on F-16/F-4/2020. SOM is long range stand-off weapon system that completed development and flight testing on F-16 and F-4s in recent years and started serial production in Roketsan company. It has IIR guidance(ATA capability) with INS/GPS, terrain matching, and following capability, 250km range, with 225kg warhead, overall 630kg( 1300lb) weight with turbojet engine(French MicroTurbo TR-40). SOM-J is in the development phase, a little smaller version of SOM to fit internally to F-35. Lockheed and Roketsan has signed an agrement for development and testing of SOM-J. It is slated for F-35 block-4 software.




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Unread post19 Dec 2015, 14:44

Some other factors:
(1) Turkey does not get "watered down" technology. As far as I know the ASELPOD is better than the systems the TuAF current fields.

Technical Specifications
Sensor Resolutions
IR: 640x512
​TV: 768x576
Fields of View (FOVs)
IR: 0.8° - 4.0° - 28°
​TV: 0.8° - 4.0°
Field of Regard (FOR)
Azimuth: 360° continuous
Elevation: +45° to -150°
Laser Range Finder and Target Designator
Wavelength (Combat): 1064 nm
Wavelength (Training): 1570 nm
Repetition rate: up to 20 Hz
Laser Pointer Wavelength: NIR
Laser Spot Tracker Wavelength: 1064 nm
Communication Interface MIL-STD-1553B
Video Interface
2x Video Output (RS-170)
1x Video Input (Optional)
Power Interface 115 VAC 400Hz and 28 VDC
Diameter: 430 mm
Length: 2350 mm
Weight 240 kg

(2) The AselPOD is a test bed for the TFX internal/integrated Advanced targeting and navigation POD.
(3) Turkey can export the AselPOD to any country it likes without any third-party export controls



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Unread post06 Jan 2017, 11:02

ASELSAN secures first export customer for ASELPOD: Pakistan to integrate Aselpod onto JF-17 Block III Thunder


Earlier in the month, Aselsan, one of Turkey’s main defence vendors, announced that it had secured a $25 million U.S. export sale for its ASELPOD advanced targeting pod. It did not disclose the country, but at this point is all but an open secret that the customer is Pakistan.

According to Turkey Monch Publishing, a leading Turkish language defence news outlet, Aselsan will sell 16 ASELPOD advanced targeting pods under the $25 million contract. The delivery of the pods will begin in 2017, and the integration process take place in both Turkey and Pakistan.

In Turkey, Aselsan will configure the pod for the receiving platform – i.e. the JF-17 Thunder. This would include work on the ASELPOD’s software and communications equipment, to ensure that the system works with the native systems onboard the JF-17. Meanwhile, Pakistan will produce the external pylon or hard-point that will be used for the ASELPOD.

Aselsan reportedly competed against the Thales Damocles and Lockheed Martin Sniper for the contract, but won on the grounds of offering a package that offered the right balance of performance and savings.

The Turkish Air Force has 73 ASELPODs in the pipeline, which in time will join the 16 it is already using on board its F-16 and F-4 combat aircraft as well as CN-235 light utility transport aircraft.

Development of the ASELPOD is ongoing; for example, a two-way data-link configuration is being developed, this will enable the ASELPOD to double as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solution in addition to its principal role as a targeting pod.

The ASELPOD weighs 235kg and has a length of 2.35m. Its electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors can track up to eight targets at a laser-designation range of up to 25km, and a general range of up to 55km. It can track moving vehicles such as main battle tanks at up to 15km. The ASELPOD can be used a day and at night, and it is capable of being paired with laser-guided and INS/GPS precision-guided munitions.

Comment and Analysis

This is among two major defence programs to have been finalized between Turkey and Pakistan in June, with the other being a deal to upgrade Pakistan’s Agosta 90B submarines.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s rationale for procuring the ASELPOD could be drawn to three major reasons: First, the apparent desire to have the JF-17 support the Sniper-equipped F-16 in ground attack missions in Pakistan’s counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). To what extent this purchase is motivated by that desire, especially in response to the defunct deal for new F-16s, is not known.

Second, demonstrating the JF-17’s platform flexibility. By integrating the ASELPOD, the PAF can tangibly demonstrate that the JF-17 is truly compatible with a wide range of systems available on the market, including Western equipment. While some prospective customers could be content with sourcing the Chinese WMD-7 targeting pod with LT and LS-series bombs (e.g. Nigeria), others, such as Morocco, could prefer Western systems. The ASELPOD is proof that it could be done, and – to Aselsan’s benefit – it makes the ASELPOD an option for customers seeking a ‘NATO-standard’ system.

Third – while achievable through the WMD-7 – it enables the PAF to diversify the source of its tactical attack capabilities, which today is heavily centered on the F-16s, which are configured to use the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod alongside the Paveway and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

Unlike the Sniper and Damocles, the ASELPOD provides the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) with a higher margin of freedom in terms of munitions pairing and usage, and a lower cost and regulatory burden.

The PAF will likely push to pair the ASELPOD with laser-guided bomb (LGB) and precision-guided bomb (PGB) designs that are (or at least could be) produced domestically. For example, the Range Extension Kit (REK) produced by Global Industrial Defence Solutions (GIDS) would be a prime candidate for pairing with the ASELPOD. The JF-17 could use the ASELPOD to identify a target at stand-off range, and then feed the target’s coordinates to the REK-equipped Mk-8x bomb, which has a range of up to 60km. For solutions that are not yet produced in Pakistan, the PAF has the freedom to shop around for designs of its choice.

The TuAF and Aselsan are committed to the ASELPOD program. In the coming years the ASELPOD will see various improvements – such as two-way data-link its EO/IR sensors – as well as potentially EO/IR range extension. Aselsan has other programs in the pipeline as well, such as a photo-reconnaissance pod derived from Terma’s Modular Reconnaissance Pod, and a tactical synthetic aperture radar (SAR) reconnaissance pod. Whether the PAF would opt for these solutions is another story, but these are options.

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