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Turkish Government row over installation of Spews 2 plus

March 6, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - The Turkish goverment is in dispute with its armed forces in regards to the acquisition of a electronic warfare system, Spews 2 plus, which will be installed on 58 US built Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 50s.

The latest row between the government and the air force emerged over the choice to install BAE Systems North America, local Aselsan-Mikes developed electronic warfare self-protection suites on 30 additional F-16s to be purchased from Lockheed Martin.

The Turkish military General Staff gives final approval on military purchases for the 3 armed services. The staff have insisted on installing American ITT IFWOS systems on the 30 F-16s to be purchased, jeopardizing the serial production of Aselsan-Mikes design AN/ALQ-178(V)+ airborne radar warning and jamming system (Spews 2 plus) under US-owned BAE North America license.

The Spews 2 systems was planned to be installed on 58 F-16s in 2010. The General Staff reportedly told the Under Secretary of Defence that Spews 2 could be installed on 58 F-16s as planned, but sought ITT systems, it claimed to be a better system, to be installed on the additional 30 F-16s. Under Secretary Murad Bayar, for his part, reportedly insisted that Spews 2 also was an effective system and should be installed on the 30 F-16s.

The crux of the dispute lies with a group of top generals who want the ITT System rather than Spews 2 even though it was selected by the former Air Force commander retired General Cumhur Asparuk.

It seems the government have already spent a lot of money for the development of the Spews 2 systems and the installation on the 30 additional F-16s would make the project cost effective and enable the development program to continue in Turkey, boosting local industry.

Under Secretary Murad Bayar signed the $190.4 Million deal on January 16, 2003 after much negotiations with the local Aselsan-Mikes and BAE systems North America for the co-production of the electronic warfare self-protection suites to be equipped on the 58 block 50 single-seat fighters.

Aselsan-Mikes share in the project is set to be $100 million but the total project has increased to $228 million.