ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-controlled military software concern Havelsan has built an AgustaWestland AW139 full flight simulator for the Qatari military, the company has announced.
Havelsan shipped the simulator to Qatar, where it will become operational at a ceremony in April.
The all-weather flight simulator provides high-resolution satellite imagery of Qatar’s 11,000-square-kilometer land and medium-resolution imagery for the entire Gulf area.
Ahmet Hamdi Atalay, Havelsan's general manager, said that the cost of the AW139 simulator was about twice the price of the helicopter itself. "The simulator has more advanced technology than the helicopter," he said. "The simulator finances itself within three years thanks to reduced training costs."
During the production phase of the 47-ton simulator, 50 officers from the Qatar Emiri Air Force were trained at Havelsan for a total of 600 flight hours.
Havelsan is one of Turkey's top three defense companies. It produces simulators for helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, land and naval platforms as well as structural simulation systems and mission and operational simulators.
In 2015, Turkish authorities said the country saved about $80 million annually due to a flight simulation center built by Havelsan. At the center, Havelsan operates 10 simulators for KT-1 basic trainer aircraft and T-38M trainers.
In recent years, Turkey's defense and procurement ties with Qatar have visibly improved in line with a staunch political alliance the two Sunni Muslim countries have forged.
Turkey also operates a military base in Qatar.