Naval Air: Turks Go Italian For Maritime Patrol

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June 2, 2013: The Turkish Navy has ordered eight Italian ATR 72 aircraft, two as transports and six equipped for maritime patrol. The ATR 72 is a 22 ton transport that, when used for maritime patrol, can be armed with anti-ship missiles, lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes, depth charges, and even a pod-mounted machinegun. There can also be a sonobouy launcher, magnetic anomaly detector (MAD, to find large metal objects close to the surface), and a self-protection system (chaff, flares, jammers). Sensors carried can include a SAR (synthetic aperture radar) capable of tracking ships 220 kilometers away (when the aircraft is at 3,000 meters altitude).

The Turks have not yet decided on exactly which weapons and electronics will be on the maritime patrol version. The first of these will be delivered in 2017.  Basic equipment will be a search radar, day/night vidcams with zoom, sonobuoy dispenser, two anti-submarine torpedoes, MAD, and anti-missile defense plus electronic countermeasures. Despite all this anti-submarine gear, most of the time these aircraft will simply be searching for smugglers, poachers, or ships in distress. In these cases the torpedoes and sonobuoys are not carried.

The twin-engine ATR-72 has a cruising speed of 511 kilometers an hour. If it slows to 400 kilometers an hour the ATR-72 can patrol for six hours and stay in the air eight hours per sortie. This contract has been kicking around for eight years with the delays coming from a variety of administrative, technical, and political problems.

 

 


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