MERSIN, Turkey — The EFES-2022 exercise in the Aegean Sea concluded June 9 and featured more than 1,000 personnel from 37 countries, with the U.S. supplying its San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock Arlington as well as elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.
More than 40 Turkish defense companies also attended the exercise to exhibit their products. For the first time, both Lentatek’s anti-radiation loitering drone Kargi and Turkish Aerospace Industries’ target drone were on display.
Ismail Demir, Turkey’s top procurement official, told reporters that some of the products seen in the exhibition area took part in EFES-2022. “While the products are shown here statically, you can also see the performance of these products in the field during exercises. Seeing the performance of our products in the exercise area is important both for the field and for showing the capability of our defense industry,” he said.
The Kargi is advertised as being entirely developed in country, and it was designed to suppress and destroy enemy radar and surface-to-air missile systems. The system conducted its maiden flight in 2018 and flew for six hours.
Turkey’s largest defense company, Aselsan, worked on the system with Lentatek. The ongoing acceptance phase is expected to conclude in the third quarter of 2022, with the serial production phase beginning by the end of the year.
TAI’s target drone, which looks like a missile, was mounted on the company’s Anka UAV in the exhibition area. Omer Yildiz, deputy general manager for unmanned aerial systems at the firm, told reporters that the new target drone can reach a speed of Mach 0.9.
“We aim to reach supersonic speed by the end of the year, if we solve some engine problems. Our goal to reach supersonic speed is to imitate a rocket that can fly at supersonic speed. We want to learn the complexity of supersonic flight and develop appropriate flight control algorithms,” Yildiz said.
Yildiz also announced that the Anka will soon be equipped with a new missile.
“We have new ammunition: Tubitak Sage has developed the Kuzgun [Raven in English]. It is heavier than the others, it weighs about 100 kilograms [220 pounds]. It can carry a warhead of 60-90 kilograms. It has a solid-propellant propulsion system. This munition can travel much longer distances with its engine propulsion. We will begin testing it this month,” Yildiz said.
The Anka was able to engage targets with Roketsan-made smart munitions MAM-L and MAM-T. After the deployment of Kuzgun, the engagement range is expected to exceed 100 kilometers (62 miles).
Tayfun Ozberk is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News.