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Turkey Faces Tough Networking Task

Mar. 27, 2013 - 08:14AM   |  
By BURAK EGE BEKDIL   |   Comments
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ANKARA — Turkey has made substantial progress in integrating its military command-and-control (C2) systems, but it faces the tougher task of networking national assets with those of NATO.

The country’s C2-level information management system, HvBS (Air Data System), commands the Air Force’s strategic, tactical and managerial functions and is up and running. The Army and the Navy are still building individual systems, but the long-range goal is the integration of the C2 systems of each service.

“The Army and the Navy are adding to their capabilities, but they need to define a requirement for fully integrated systems,” a procurement official said.

In the first phase of a national program to achieve broader networking goals, the Army and the Navy are expected to synchronize C2 systems with that of the Air Force, the official said.

Turkey is striving to fully integrate all of its C2 systems, including drones, military satellites, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and radar systems, on a national level, according to one senior military official.

But the more ambitious task will be to integrate national and NATO assets under a single C2 network, which Turkish planners hope will provide a much broader picture of regional threats, along with the benefits of interoperability, and concerted defensive and offensive operations.

“We have come a long way” in networking and modern communications, “but there is much to do for a better system,” the military official said.

The Air Force used to carry out its operational processes either manually or by using nonintegrated, individual applications. Built by state-run military software company Havelsan, HvBS allows the Air Force to manage its strategic, tactical and operational planning. The system combines the service’s battle management and resource management systems.

The resource management subsystem includes functions such as strategic planning, financial management, cost accounting, logistics, personnel (human resources), training, health care, inspection and evaluation.

The main functional areas of the battle management subsystem include operations, intelligence and flight training. The system integrates the Air Force’s core business processes, including flight planning, the loading of flight data into the aircraft, flight and after-flight processes. Fast network-centric access to geospatial information integrates the many processes with geographical components.

Another Air Force command-and-control system, built and delivered in 2004 by privately owned software company Aydin Yazilim (Ayesas), integrates radars and airspace control units, both national and NATO. This system will need to integrate additional assets, such as military satellites and a NATO missile defense radar system deployed last year in southeastern Turkey.

In terms of space communications, state-affiliated TURKSAT operates a three-satellite constellation that covers the entire Middle East, but officials say it is only for civil use. Two of the satellites were built by France’s Aerospatiale and the third by Thales Alenia Space.

TURKSAT is preparing to commission two more communication satellites under a contract awarded to Japan last year.

The Turkish military’s space-based assets are geared more toward intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Placed in orbit late in December was Gokturk-2, an Earth-observation satellite designed and built by the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Institute’s (TUBITAK) TUBITAK-UZAY, a space technologies research institute, in cooperation with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAS).

Gokturk-2 was launched from Jiuquan, China, on Dec. 18. Encompassing 80 percent indigenously developed technology and 100 percent domestically developed software, Gokturk-2 provides daylight imagery of 2.5 meters’ resolution. It is Turkey’s second national satellite following RASAT, which also was developed by TUBITAK-UZAY and launched from Russia on Aug. 17, 2011.

The ISR data gathered by national assets, including Gokturk-2 and an unknown number of operational and planned UAVs, including the Anka, which is to be serially produced by TUSAS, will need to be integrated into Turkey’s C2 network for data dissemination at strategic and tactical levels.

Deterring Syria

Turkey, a NATO member, agreed to station a U.S. early warning missile detection and tracking radar system in Kurecik in the country’s southeast. Ankara has said that because of its support for armed opposition groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it fears Syria could attack Turkey with Scud and Scud-derivative missiles tipped with chemical warheads in a final, desperate act.

Meanwhile, despite major delays in a contract with Boeing for AEW&C aircraft, dubbed the Peace Eagle, Turkey hopes it finally will commission its 737-based aircraft later this year. This AEW&C system will be integrated into a broader national network to include all military assets, according to the military official.

The Peace Eagle program includes four AEW&C aircraft plus ground support. The first aircraft came straight from the U.S., and TUSAS is modifying the remaining three.

Havelsan is providing system software and the ground support center. Boeing planned to deliver the first aircraft by the end of 2012, but technical snags caused delays.

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