ANKARA — Boeing delivered the fourth and last Peace Eagle airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Turkish armed forces, which the company says will further increase the country’s self-defense capabilities.
GTC, a local PR company working for Boeing, said in a Wednesday press release that the final aircraft comes with upgraded software and a software support center to augment the ground support unit.
Aysem Sargin Isil, general director for Boeing in Turkey, said Turkey is the only country in the region to have AEW&C capabilities.
In addition to the four aircraft, the Peace Eagle program includes ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance.
AEW&C provides advanced airborne surveillance and battle management capabilities, and can simultaneously track airborne and maritime targets.
Under a July 23, 2003, contract priced at more than US $1.6 billion, Boeing was to develop and deliver four AEW&C aircraft to the Turkish Air Force in 2008. The program involved the delivery of the 737-700 airframe, ground radar and control systems, ground control segments for mission crew training, mission support and maintenance support.
Ankara said in 2013 that it would impose sanctions on Boeing “for major delays” in the spy plane program, a top Turkish official said.
Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said in April 2013 that program delays were due to the company’s failure to develop the system as well as other uncontrolled events within the program.
Turkish companies that work as subcontractors of the program include Havelsan, Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries, Mikes, Aselsan and Turkish Airlines.
The 737-700 aircraft are to be used as part of Turkey’s NATO capabilities.
An airborne early warning and control system is an airborne radar system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges, and to control and command the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. Used at a high altitude, the radars on the aircraft allow the operators to distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft hundreds of miles away.