ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan has developed a supersonic, anti-radiation missile for the TF-X, the country’s indigenous fighter jet in the making.
The missile, dubbed Akbaba (or “vulture” in English), was included in the ammunitions list of the TF-X at a Turkish Air Force briefing on June 30.
The Akbaba program is classified, and Roketsan’s website does not mention the technology.
“We cannot provide any information on the Akbaba project due to secrecy for national security reasons,” Roketsan told Defense News on July 8.
But a company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Akbaba missiles will replace the batch of about 100 AGM-88 HARM missiles in the Air Force’s inventory.
American firm Raytheon Technologies builds the AGM-88 HARM, which is also a high-speed, anti-radiation missile used to seek and destroy radar-equipped air defense systems.
An Air Force official said the Akbaba will be used by the 151st “Bronze” Squadron — a unit that specializes in using the HARM weapons when operating F-16C/D Fighting Falcons.
A defense procurement source said the contract value for the Akbaba is unknown because quantity has not been determined.
“We have about 100 AGM-88 HARMs, which will be replaced by the Akbaba. That would make a contract of about $50 million. But we may have follow-on orders bigger than the original,” he said. “This is an open-ended program.”
The official also said the final quantities and the contract value will depend on the progress of the TF-X program.
Burak Ege Bekdil is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News. He has written for Hurriyet Daily News, and worked as Ankara bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Middle East Quarterly and Gatestone Institute.