missile systems during the 100th year celebrations at the Cigli airbase
in Turkey’s western province of Izmir. Celebrations consisted of public shows by the world’s leading
air acrobatics teams, including the USAF Thunderbirds and Turkey’s own
Turkish Stars, as well as various other events both on the ground and in
2006, Turkey’s first indigenous stand-off missile is designed for
destroying both fixed and large moving targets at a range of over 180
kilometers. Currently referred to by the TurAF as SOM, it can be used as
a precision strike weapon against both land or sea targets.
TUBITAK-SAGE officials who spoke at the Cigli airshow said
that the initial demonstartion flights of the prototypes were completed
successfully at undisclosed locations and the delivery of a first batch
of missiles to TurAF would take place by the end of 2011 following more
vigorous live firing tests scheduled for the rest of the year.
SOM missile uses GPS (Global Positioning System) as its primary mode of
guidance complemented by an advanced intertial navigation system and a
radar-based terrain contour matching system, dubbed TERCOM, allowing the
missile to ‘hug’ the terrain during its flight as to avoid detection by
radar. SOM also features improved geometry and aerodynamics over
similar missile systems, as well as lightweight composite components
that minimize the radar cross-section of the missile and turning it
stealth. A terminal stage infrared imager recognizes the individual
target by matching its signature with a pre-loaded database of similar
targets and allows for precision homing and strike.
SOM can currently be installed and used aboard TurAF F-4 Phantom and F-16 aircraft.
“Certification work is in progress to enable the missile for use aboard
the F-35,” a TUBITAK-SAGE official told on condition of
anonymity. Turkey plans to procure an initial batch of 120 F-35 planes
to replace its aging fleet of F-4 Phantoms and the older F-16 Block 30s.