Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries hopes to gain C-130 upgrade work outside of Turkey. (Lockheed Martin)
ANKARA — Turkey’s national aerospace specialist has perhaps busied itself too long with upgrading the country’s fleet of C-130 transport aircraft but it finally reached the delivery stage and is now confident it may win similar upgrade contracts abroad.
“Once all upgraded aircraft are in service and prove efficiency, TAI will emerge as a potential address for similar aircraft for all forces around the world that has C-130s,” said a senior official at Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
But industry sources remain skeptical.
“It may take a longer-than-expected time before TAI has proven its expertise and price efficiency in C-130 upgrade work,” an Ankara-based aerospace analyst said.
Under a 2007 contract with the Turkish government, dubbed “Erciyes,” TAI is upgrading a batch of 19 C-130 aircraft. The first two upgraded C-130s will be delivered to the Turkish Air Force next month. The contract price was US $181 million.
The upgrades will add around 20 years to the Turkish aircraft’s service life. The main features of the Erciyes program include a glass cockpit, new modules developed over 3.5 million lines of software, new mission computer, new flight management system, and capabilities to communicate with all land, air and sea platforms.
A tactical data processor also will connect the Turkish C-130s to NATO’s Link-16 system, allowing the aircraft to share visual, audio and text data with all allied headquarters. ■