ANKARA — Although a local Turkish company has engaged in talks with foreign aircraft manufacturers to build a stand-off jammer (SOJ) system, the procurement office has launched a parallel program to procure similar systems from a foreign supplier.
The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) has announced that the new program will involve "production, delivery and acceptance of the systems; installation and integration of mission equipment into the systems; construction of barracks and buildings; test and assessment of the systems; maintenance, repairs, technical support, spare parts; supply of ground support equipment and their spare parts and overall training."
The new program is dubbed "Golge," or "shadow in Turkish."
Industry sources said that the new competition indicates an is an indication of "urgent requirement" for two reasons: First, Defense electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey's biggest defenseines firm, already is engaged in a similar program to provide designed to earn Turkey SOJ capabilities, and second, potential bidders are asked to reply within a relatively short time.
A request for proposal (RfP) document issued by SSM asks bidders to reply no later than Feb. 23.
"This is a relatively short time frame for a program ofs this size and complexity," a Western aerospace official here said. "Or perhaps the Turks may already have negotiated with potential bidders and know which companies will show up."
Another industry source expects the program to cost Turkey about at around $200 million.
"I am thinking of roughly $200 million if Turkey decides to go for an aircraft in the Global Express or Gulfstream G-V categories. The final price will also depend very much on the chosen configuration," he said.
One procurement official admitted some delays in the parallel, Aselsan-run program.
"That program is on track and progressing. But we probably need a couple of systems earlier than Aselsan's likely delivery date," said the official.
In late 1990s, Turkey decided to buy four aircraft with an option to buy four more and 10 ground stations for long-range jamming capabilities, targeting both enemy communications and radars. (COMJAM and R-JAM capabilities).
In the mid-2000s, the program was split into two: air and land. In July 2009, Aselsan won a $71 million contract to develop a prototype system for the land forces. That program is still progressing.
In 2007, Aselsan also was tasked to act as prime contractor and co-produce, with foreign technological assistance, a system for the Air Force. In 2008, a request for information was issued to aircraft-makers Antonov, Bbombardier, Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, Gulfstream and Embraer.
In 2009, the Turkish government ordered Aselsan to produce and outfit a selected business jet or a regional passenger jet with a locally developed SOJ system. Aselsan negotiated with aircraft manufacturers until 2012 and issued an RfP to potential bidders for the acquisition of four aircraft.
Bids were placed in 2013 but the contract held the aircraft manufacturer responsible for systems integration. Since then, Aselsan has been in negotiations with Gulfstream.
An Aselsan official denied the new program for off-the-shelf purchase means its local engineering program could be shelved.
"The work for the local system is on progress. In the meantime, apparently there is need for extra systems, with shorter delivery schedules," he said.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.