ANKARA — Turkey’s procurement authorities have approved a new contract to acquire reconnaissance and observation aircraft. 

The procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), released a request for information (RfI) to which potential bidders must reply no later than Aug. 12.

The RfI specifies that the required aircraft will be "manned."

It did not specify the number of aircraft to be acquired. But procurement sources said a total of five aircraft would be purchased.

The Turkish military expects the planned aircraft to support its unmanned aircraft in reconnaissance missions. The aircraft will be operated by the Turkish land forces.

The contract will require aircraft and their systems integration, including electro-optical sensors, systems operators and data links, plus logistical support.

One industry source said the overall contract price would hover be around $50 million for all five aircraft, excluding logistical support services.

The Turkish military earlier operated a fleet of leased Beechcraft King Air aircraft for reconnaissance purposes.

Industry sources widely expect the required system to be outfitted to the same or similar line of aircraft.