Paris — Thales formally handed over on July 18, two years late and after millions of euros in provisions, a fourth modified Casa CN-235 aircraft under the Turkish Meltem maritime patrol and surveillance program, a company executive said.
The Turkish Navy has acquired “a first operational initial capability under the Meltem program with the delivery of a fourth aircraft,” Pierre Eric Pommellet, senior vice president for mission defense systems, said from Ankara. “This effectively concludes this important phase of the program.”
Thales is prime contractor in the Meltem 2 contract, worth about 400 million euros ($491.1 million), which required adapting nine CN-235 aircraft to fly maritime patrol and surveillance missions for the Turkish Navy and Coast Guard.
An official handover was held in Ankara, at the Tusas Aerospace Industry (TAI) facility, with Navy and Coast Guard officials, and executives from local program partners TAI, Aselsan, Havelsan and Milsot, a Thales statement said.
“This delivery marks a true milestone in the development of our maritime patrol capability,” Yakup Tas Delen, department head of the Turkish undersecretariat for defense industries, said in the statement.
The market for maritime mission systems is expanding, with prospects in the Middle East, Asia and South America, Pommellet said.
Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are seen as export opportunities, and Thales is hoping France will order an upgrade of its Atlantique 2 aircraft in the coming months.
Thales sells its mission systems for installing on entry-level and medium aircraft, while Boeing dominates the heavy end with the P-8 aircraft.
Thales booked 1.2 billion euros in provisions in 2009 and 2010 financial results to cover overruns on problem programs, including Meltem 2, Airbus A400M, a Danish ticketing system and an air traffic management system for Singapore.
Pommellet declined to give details of the Meltem 2 provisions. The managers hit all the program milestones after a contract renegotiation in March 2010, so no further provisions had been booked, he said.
Thales had to renegotiate the contract because of the complexity of the program, which spanned technical problems and an unwieldy industrial organization that spanned companies in France, Indonesia and Turkey, he said.
Thales signed the Meltem 2 deal in 2002. Under the contract, Thales is due to deliver six modified CN-235 units to the Turkish Navy for maritime patrol and three to the Coast Guard for maritime surveillance.
Under Meltem 3, Thales is a supplier, fitting its Amascos maritime mission system to 10 ATR-72 aircraft delivered by prime contractor Alenia. Of the 10 mission systems, seven have been delivered.
Turkey acquired the CN-235 aircraft under the Meltem 1 deal.