By BURAK EGE BEKDIL
ANKARA¬†‚Äî Alenia Aermacchi has delivered the first ATR 72-600 maritime utility aircraft to the Turkish Navy, the first of eight planes.
Turkey‚Äôs order consists of two maritime utility aircraft and six maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft, the company said in a Wednesday news release. The total cost of the program, which introduces a new capability for Turkish forces, is US $218 million.
Compared to the ATR 72 600 basic platform, a twin-engine turboprop, the two maritime utility planes, modified at Alenia Aermacchi‚Äôs plants in Napoli-Capodichino and Torino-Caselle, feature new radios; an identification friend or foe system; and a cabin equipped with tactical tables and communications equipment for the crew. Both planes will be used for utility roles and to transport personnel and cargo.
Alenia said: ‚ÄúThe first Turkish Navy flying instructors just completed the training on the new aircraft at Alenia Aermacchi‚Äôs Training Centre in Caselle. The second aircraft will be delivered within the first half of August.‚Äù
The remaining six maritime patrol planes are being converted by Turkish Aerospace Industries here. With some additional equipment, they will integrate the Thales AMASCOS mission system, the Link 16 data link, an automatic identification system and a weapons system.
Typical missions for these planes include vessel search and identification; patrolling economic exclusive zones (including fishing areas and offshore platforms); drug smuggling and piracy control; disaster surveillance; maritime patrol roles; and anti-submarine warfare. The first will be delivered to the Turkish Navy in February 2017, and deliveries will be completed by 2018.