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Turkey's Roketsan Shows Wide Range of Weapons in Singapore

February 19, 2016 (Photo Credit: Christopher P. Cavas/Staff)

SINGAPORE — Roketsan is bringing a growing variety of weapons on the world market, many developed by the TÜBİTAK Defense Industries Research and Development Institute outside Ankara, Turkey, or developed with partner companies, including Aselsan. Ranging from anti-tank weapons to laser-guided bomb kits to larger cruise and surface-to-air missiles, the company has been expanding its reach, exhibiting in the Middle East and, for the first time, here at the Singapore Air Show.

"There is a huge market here in Southeast Asia," said Alin Yalçı, chief engineer of the weapon systems integration unit in Roketsan's tactical missile systems group. "We aim to export our products to more countries."

Based in Ankara and established in 1988, Roketsan has over 2,000 employees, Yalçı said.

Perhaps the most impressive weapon on display was the SOM air-breathing cruise missile recently introduced into service with Turkish Air Force F-16 Block 40 and F-4E fighter jets. The weapon, Turkey's first long-range standoff cruise missile, has been in development since 2006, according to Yalçi.

Also shown here was a mockup of the SOM-J version under development with Lockheed Martin for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Designed to fit inside the aircraft's weapons bay, the SOM-J has a revised wing configuration and is longer and slimmer than the original model.

SOMs are designed to fly low-altitude attack profiles. The weapon, Yalçı said, has a 500 kilogram warhead — "a huge warhead for huge targets."

Roketsan is moving forward with a wide variety of projects, and about two-thirds of the weapons on display are not yet operational, Yalçı said, although he added that all were expected to be fielded by 2018. 

The Hisar air defense missile was also shown here. Stored and launched from a vertical canister or carried on an armored chassis, the weapon is Turkey's first locally developed air defense weapon. Two versions, the Hisar-A low altitude and Hisar-O medium-altitude weapon, are under development, Yalçı said, with the Hisar-A targeted for a 2017 service entry. Roketsan is subprimed to Aselsan on the Hisar program.

Another project entering the development phase is the Teber laser guidance kit that converts standard Mark 81 and Mark 82 bombs into precision smart weapons. Similar to Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits made by Boeing ,the Teber features strap-on tail assemblies and noses fitted with inertial navigation system, GPS, and laser sensors and seekers. 

Other new weapons displayed by Roketsan included the OMTAS medium-range anti-tank missile system fitted, according to Yalçı, "with the most effective warhead in its class." The 160mm-diameter weapon has a minimum range of 200 meters and a maximum range of 4,000 meters. 

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