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Turkey reveals stand-off missile, bunker buster
Turkish Air Force (TurAF) has revealed two indigenously developed missile systems during the 100th year celebrations at the Cigli airbase in Turkey’s western province of Izmir, TR Defence sources reported on Saturday. Celebrations consisted of public shows by the world’s leading air acrobatics teams, including the USAF Thunderbirds and Turkey’s own Turkish Stars, as well as various other events both on the ground and in the air.
Developed by TUBITAK-SAGE as a result of an ambitious project started in 2006, Turkey’s first indigenous stand-off missile is designed for destroying both fixed and large moving targets at a range of over 180 kilometers. Currently referred to by the TurAF as SOM, it can be used as a precision strike weapon against both land or sea targets. TUBITAK-SAGE officials who spoke to TR Defence at the Cigli airshow said that the initial demonstartion flights of the prototypes were completed successfully at undisclosed locations and the delivery of a first batch of missiles to TurAF would take place by the end of 2011 following more vigorous live firing tests scheduled for the rest of the year.
SOM missile uses GPS (Global Positioning System) as its primary mode of guidance complemented by an advanced intertial navigation system and a radar-based terrain contour matching system, dubbed TERCOM, allowing the missile to ‘hug’ the terrain during its flight as to avoid detection by radar. SOM also features improved geometry and aerodynamics over similar missile systems, as well as lightweight composite components that minimize the radar cross-section of the missile and turning it stealth. A terminal stage infrared imager recognizes the individual target by matching its signature with a pre-loaded database of similar targets and allows for precision homing and strike.
SOM can currently be installed and used aboard TurAF F-4 Phantom and F-16 aircraft.
“Certification work is in progress to enable the missile for use aboard the F-35,” a TUBITAK-SAGE official told TR Defence on condition of anonymity. Turkey plans to procure an initial batch of 120 F-35 planes to replace its aging fleet of F-4 Phantoms and the older F-16 Block 30s.
Bunker Penetrating Munition
TUBITAK-SAGE also unveiled its latest high-precision ’bunker buster’ bomb at the airshow in Izmir, dubbed NEB (Nufuz Edici Bomba) or Penetrating Bomb.
NEB is a 870 kg bomb system that consists of two warheads placed in a tandem configuration. First warhead is a tip-mounted shaped charge that creates a critical shockwave and intense heat upon impact. This allows the second warhead to penetrate through a reinforced concrete structure and explode on the inside. Second warhead is a larger explosive package housed in a thicker, slimmer steel-alloy casing that is designed to go through the walls of the bunker as it’s weaked by the shock and heat of the first first warhead’s impact. Wired with a proximity fuze to detonate approximately one second after the first warhead, the second warhead delivers a large and extremely lethal explosion to destroy the enemy bunker from inside out.
NEB is laser guided and can be dropped from all TurAF combat aircraft with target designators.
See also official press release : http://www.sage.tubitak.gov.tr/THG2011_BasinAciklama/BasinAciklama_eng.htm
N.B. The SOM missile is one of the 2 official candidate cruise missiles to be integrated onto the F-35 (the other one being the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) being developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace of Norway).
The SOM has been integrated on all Turkish Air Force aircraft including the F-16 CCIP, F-16 Advanced Block 50 and F-4 2020, F-4ETM Simsek. Certification on the F-35 is continuing.
According to Tubitak officials a special feature of the missile is that it does not require access to the aircraft mission computer as it has seperately wired to independent dedicated systems onboard the aircraft. Accordingly, Tubitak-Sage by-passes the need to access launch aircraft source codes.
Informal Turkish Air Forces officials state that they plan to commission 1500+ SOM missiles. They expect orders to be placed by the end of 2011.