ISTANBUL --- The experience Turkey has gained from developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters domestically will be useful in the development of the country’s fifth-generation fighter jet, though there are certain challenges ahead in terms of technology, the head of the Defense Industries Presidency (SSB) said in a recent interview. Ismail Demir also suggested they are one step further in the locally produced main battle tank which will be powered with the indigenous engine.
In an interview with Kriter magazine, which is published by Ankara's Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), Demir said an integrated system is needed on the road map for the national fighter jet (MMU) project regarding its engine systems, avionics systems, electronic systems, radar invisibility and flight control systems.
He noted that Turkey has not closed the door on a multi-partner project and is still as open to collaboration as it was during the prototype development phase.
Automated control system for UAVs
Turkey has shown significant gains in using UAV capacities in the field, especially with the circulating footages from Syria and Libya in which Bashar Assad regime tanks, Russian-made air defense systems and Libyan putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s military equipment were destroyed by Turkish drone-led operations. Demir says those drones have multiple uses, apart from surveillance, shooting and other usages in the field of operation.
“UAV technology has the potential to go to such a point that it's like your airspace is now moving into an automated control system,” Demir explained, which means the unmanned vehicles, which vary greatly in size, can be integrated with an automatic control system, enabling them to conduct operations in crowded airspace without the need for human intervention.
The defense industries' head pointed out the potential usage of UAVs in civil areas, such as for cargo deliveries, noting that the country currently has cargo projects underway using micro UAVs.
The integration of a wide range of UAVs controlled in a smart system will ensure them to operate very effectively while not blocking air traffic, he noted.
Demir said that ensuring the common communication of the unmanned vehicles will be a definite requirement when they are diversified as unmanned land, sea and underwater vehicles, which is also on the country’s agenda.
“Because, especially for the future, it will be very important to disrupt the communication of the other side while it is as important not to allow the other side to disrupt our communication,” to be able to use and protect these programs in the field, Demir said.
“The battlefield now requires tremendous brainpower, and the battles are about to become a field where technology is very active,” he said. (end of excerpt)
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