ANKARA, TURKEY — Turkey has made significant progress in modernizing its F-16 fleet with domestic resources. Turkish media write that the project for an independent aircraft firing system – the UBAS is nearing its end. Thanks to the UBAS project, munitions developed with national resources will be integrated into the F-16.
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Tubitak Sage [Defense Industries Research and Development Institute] has been continuing its activities on the project of the independent firing system of the aircraft [under the UBAS project] for some time. Thanks to UBAS, air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions developed with national resources in Turkey will be integrated into F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter configurations. This is an extraordinary advance, as a mission computer in Turkish F-16s is foreign. This means that the codes are also not available.
According to Tubitak Sage’s annual report, studies are already planned to develop touch screen avionics [ICP] that will nationalize the pilot’s weapons control interface on F-16 platforms. This project is also under UBAS. It is expected to “reach maturity” soon, which will allow it to be included in the inventory of the Turkish F-16 already this year.
Thanks to the UBAS project, many Turkish munitions [guided] will be integrated under the wings of Turkish F-16s. Among them are guided munitions Gokdogan Bozdogan, Cakir, Som, Lacin, and Tolun.
On the other hand, it is estimated that there is no such problem with the integration of the F-16 platforms to be modernized within the framework of the other Turkish project. the Ozgur. Because a national mission computer for the F-16 was developed under the Ozgur project.
The Ozgur program envisages large-scale modernization. What Turkey can produce and give to its fleet of F-16 fighters is not at all small. For example, the program envisages that Blocks 30, 40, and 50 will receive a completely new digital cockpit. This includes MFDs also produced in the country.
The three F-16 models will also get new digital gauges to give the aircraft’s engine, hydraulics, and fuel status. A key part of the upgrade will be the integration of a locally produced equivalent of Link 16 – the main communications hub in NATO aircraft working to recognize other systems as “friend-foe”.
The new F-16 Block 70 has a warning system when the aircraft is dangerously close to the surface. It’s called the Digital Terrain System. According to the Ozgur program, Turkey is working on its version to be integrated into the domestic fighter fleet.
Digital map integration and internal/external NVIS compatibility are provided. New GPS capabilities and ASELPOD will also be upgraded to more modern solutions. Of course, the biggest part of the entire modernization process under the program will be the integration of the new Turkish AESA radar.
However, the upgrade will not only affect the aircraft’s software and hardware. Turkey has long been rumored to be developing its own versions of weapons that are part of the original Block 70 weapons package. As recently as July last year, Turkey successfully tested the Merlin and Peregrin missiles, which will replace the American AIM-120 AMRAAM.
Turkey has embarked on ambitious transformations to ensure independence in terms of the level of the country’s future defense capabilities. It is known that Turkey has become independent in the production of unmanned aerial vehicles of all classes. It is currently working on a project that will overcome the lack of an F-35, through the local TAI TF-X, which did its first taxi test on a runway just a week ago.
If we delve deeper into the intentions of the Turkish defense industry, we will find that Ankara is trying to become independent in terms of supplies from France as well. For example, as early as last year it became clear that Turkey had developed its own version of the Roketsan cruise missile propulsion engine. Thus, at some point, Ankara will be able to safely abandon the used French Safran engines.
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