ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s first indigenous anti-ship cruise missile, the Atmaca, will replace the country’s aging inventory of American-made Harpoon missiles, military and industry sources said.
“We are confident of a smooth substitution over the next years,” a Navy officer said. “The effort covers all combat ships in our inventory.”
An official from state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan, a co-producer of Atmaca (which translates to “Hawk” in English), said that the weapon will replace more than 350 Harpoons in the next two to three years, starting with ships under maintenance and upgrade programs.
Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Roketsan won the development contract from the Turkish government in 2009. In 2018, Roketsan teamed up with military-electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense firm, to jointly manufacture Atmaca, which incorporates features of the Harpoon and French Exocet missiles.
In 2019, Atmaca was fitted aboard Turkey’s fourth Ada-class corvette, the TCG Kinaliada. It was successfully tested in July 2020.
The Roketsan official said Turkey aims to save up to $500 million from the Atmaca replacement program, as the homemade missile comes in at around half the price of a Harpoon.
Defense News asked Harpoon manufacturer Boeing about the financial impact of Turkey’s decision, but the company referred questions to the U.S. government and the international customer.
Atmaca is a subsonic, sea-skimming anti-ship missile with a range exceeding 220 kilometers. It features a 250-kilogram-class high-explosive fragmentation warhead. It reportedly has a high resistance to countermeasures and features all-weather capabilities, a target updating and mission termination facility, and a comprehensive mission planning system with 3D routing.
The missile is effective against sea targets in open or coastal waters, as well as against shore-based targets. During tests, Atmaca cruised at an altitude as low as 3 meters.
It will be fitted aboard the Ada-class corvettes, the Istanbul-class frigates and the TF2000-class anti-air warfare destroyers.
Chris Martin in Washington contributed to this report.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.