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Turkey receives third MELTEM-3 maritime patrol aircraft

Turkish Navy third P-72 maritime patrol aircraft
Photo: Turkish Navy

The Turkish Navy commissioned the third of six ATR-72/600 (P-72) maritime patrol aircraft it bought from Italy in 2012.

Delivered under the MELTEM-3 project, the ATR-72/600 aircraft are procured from Italy’s Leonardo and modified by Turkish Aerospace Industries for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare tasks through the integration of the AMASCOS maritime patrol mission system. AMASCOS includes anti-submarine torpedoes, sonobuoy launchers, search radars, electro-optical sensors, magnetic anomaly detectors for submarine detection, as well as an integrated self-protection system with chaffs, flare dispensers, and radar and missile warning systems.

In addition, the aircraft features a fuselage door that can be opened in flight and two observer stations equipped with large bubble windows. The ATR 72ASW is also able to be reconfigured with additional specific systems and missile armaments to carry out anti-ship missions.

Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi was responsible for the design and development of the transformation of the basic platform and for the mission system’s installation and integration with the on-board systems of the basic aircraft, while Thales was the lead systems integrator for the ATR 72-600’s new avionics suite. All of the conversion work was performed by TAI, Turkish Aerospace Industry.

The third unit was commissioned on May 4, after the first airframe completed the systems integration and subsequent certification in Italy in April 2020. It was handed over in December 2020. The second unit was handed over to the Turkish Navy in March this year, with the remaining three airframes expected to arrive in quick succession.

MELTEM-3 experienced significant delays, with the original schedule calling for the delivery of all six units by 2018. The contract with Leonardo for the delivery of the ATR-72/600 was signed in 2012.

The ATR 72TMPA is the Turkish Navy version of the ATR 72ASW, a mid-size, anti-submarine turboprop aircraft. It is a special version of the ATR 72 turboprop regional aircraft made by the French-Italian ATR joint venture (Alenia Aermacchi/EADS).

The 2012 contract for the six ATR 72TMPA also included two ATR72-600 TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft). The aircraft are already delivered and are used by the Turkish Navy for utility roles and personnel and cargo transport missions.