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Başlatan Sabri Ünal, Oca 24, 2016, 12:44 ÖÖ

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Sabri Ünal


The Altay main battle tank is at the center of Turkey's armour modernization roadmap. With up to 1000 units planned for the Turkish Army, the Altay is shaping up to be a very advanced and capable system. Photo credit: Otokar

A look at how Turkey's next-generation main battle tank could be added to the Pakistan Army Armoured Corps

18 January 2016 By Bilal Khan

Although it is in development, the Turkish Altay main battle tank (MBT) is drawing interest from a number of Turkey's leading arms clients. Among the interested parties is Pakistan, which has sought to cultivate strong defence ties with Ankara, especially over the past decade through a series of arms purchases, joint-exercises and a bilateral pilot training exchange program.

Development of the Altay MBT formally started in 2007 with the aim of not only meeting the Turkish Army's next-generation MBT requirement, but also to enhance the country's capacity to source important defence equipment through domestic means. Otokar, a private Turkish firm, became the principal vendor of the program via a $500 million U.S. contract awarded by the Turkish government. In 2008 Otokar approached Hyundai Rotem in South Korea for technical assistance, thus enabling the Altay to draw on technology from the newly deployed K2 Black Panther MBT.

The Altay MBT is the central piece of the Turkish Army's armour modernization roadmap. Although it should not be a surprise, given Turkey's status as a NATO member, the Altay is a Western tank in terms of its design and goals: It is a heavyweight (65 tons) machine equipped with a 120mm smoothbore gun as well as two additional secondary armaments, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and a remote-controlled turret. It is powered by a 1500hp diesel engine acquired from the German manufacturer MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, which may be replaced by an indigenous system in the future. Finally, the tank's all-round defensive resilience is drawn from its composite armour and an active protection suite.

As one might expect, the Altay is not going to come "cheap." Hence the reason why Pakistan's interest in this tank is very intriguing. Traditionally, Pakistan has largely sought to acquire lower-cost and lighter-weight tanks such as the al-Khalid and al-Zarrar (a substantial upgrade of the Chinese T-59), which could be acquired in far greater numbers. For Pakistan, the quantitative aspect is important. Firstly, Pakistan's border with India spans nearly 3000km, and second, India itself has a numerically massive and technologically robust stable of tanks. A large number of tanks is necessary in order to scale that territory as well as manage against a numerically heavy enemy thrust.

With the above in mind it is certain that the Pakistan Army is not re-orienting itself towards a smaller number of NATO-standard tanks, which would be inappropriate relative to its geo-strategic realities. Instead, the Altay is being considered as a supplement to the al-Khalid series, which will continue its role in gradually (i.e. over the long-term) forming the mainstay of the Army's tank forces.

The idea of a supplementary system came to the fore in 2015 when the "Haider" MBT requirement was revealed. At the time it seemed that the Chinese VT-4 would meet that requirement, but the Army rejected it. It is not clear if the Altay is being considered for the Haider program or as an entirely separate acquisition. In any case, the question of why another tank is being considered, especially an expensive platform such as the Altay, needs to be explored.

In general, Pakistan's armoured forces in war would be oriented for either offensive (via strike corps) or defensive (via holding corps) formations. Precisely which of these aspects the Altay would fulfil is not known, but the Altay was designed to handle both roles. The payoff (in technology and performance) of the Altay over the al-Khalid must be substantial (relative to the added cost) in order for the Army to justify its addition to the Armoured Corps.

If added, the Altay could be deployed to locations where an offensive surge (or defensive resistance) is expected to be the strongest. High performance ratings in key parameters such as maintenance or serviceability on the field, durability against the natural elements, acclimation with the region's environments, and battle performance (e.g. accuracy, agility and resilience against attacks) could make Altay regiments a particularly serious threat for the enemy.

However, cost will be the critical bottleneck. Given the expensive nature of the Altay platform the Army would likely have to pursue the program through incremental batch orders of 40-50 tanks, and the total Altay force within Pakistan would likely sit at around 300 tanks. In tandem with the actual tank, Pakistan may also be interested in acquiring some of the Altay's armour and self-protection technology for use on the al-Khalid, especially its future versions.

One particularly interesting example is the Aselsan Akkor active protection system, which is currently under development. The Akkor is being developed to protect the Altay MBT (as well as other armoured vehicles) from anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) threats. Its laser-warning receivers would alert the tank of an attempted laser-lock, which in turn could trigger smoke dispensers to thwart the lock (i.e. "soft-kill" capability). The Akkor could also directly intercept incoming missiles (i.e. "hard-kill" capability) through the use of a "smart munition" which - after firing - calculates its distance relative to the approaching missile, and when close enough, detonates a high-explosive warhead against the missile.

It must be acknowledged that this prospect (if it is indeed one) is in its very early stages. Pakistan has been interested in big-ticket Turkish armaments before, such as the MILGEM corvette and the T-129 attack helicopter, but the reality of Pakistan's financial woes ultimately put those ideas to rest. However, India's induction of the Arjun Mk-2 as well as possibly the Russian Armata MBT, could lend significant momentum in favour of the Altay.

Source: http://quwa.org/2016/01/18/pakistan-reportedly-interested-in-the-altay-mbt/ Mesajı Paylaş
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#1
May 03, 2016, 07:34 ÖS Last Edit: Haz 04, 2017, 01:13 ÖÖ by Sabri Ünal
Could Aselsan provide EW/ECM gear for the JF-17?

By Bilal Khan: An overview of how Aselsan - Turkey's leading avionics vendor - could potentially equip the JF-17 Thunder, especially for export purposes

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has not been coy about keeping the JF-17 Thunder's electronic warfare (EW) and electronic countermeasures (ECM) options open, especially from the perspective of building out the JF-17's exportability. A few years ago, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) tested an EW suite controller acquired from the Spanish firm Indra, and some believe that the JF-17 Block-II uses an Indra ECM suite.

The freedom to integrate its choice of weapons and subsystems onto the platform confers the PAF with advantages that are not available with the F-16. These advantages include quicker iterative upgrades, an assured modernization roadmap, and the ability to explore and exercise the full gamut of possible options.

One such option could be Aselsan, Turkey's leading producer of military-grade electronics equipment. Through a combination of local licensed manufacturing and original research and development (R&D), Aselsan became leading electronics vendor for the Turkish military, especially over the past 10 years. In fact, the next several years will likely be a "break-out" period of sorts for Aselsan as it begins to channel the results of its own R&D efforts into marketable high-quality solutions.

Aselsan has no shortage of programs, but the focus of this article will be on the company's EW and ECM technology. While the company's efforts originally centered on producing the BAE Systems' AN/ALQ-178 SPEWS (short for Self Protection Electronic Warfare System) for the Turkish Air Force's F-16s, the company succeeded in developing its own complete EW and ECM solutions. For example, Aselsan produces its own radar warning receiver (RWR), missile warning system (MWS), laser warning system (LWS), chaff and flare management and dispensing system, and digital radio frequency memory (DRFM)-based jamming system.

For those of you not familiar with EW/ECM. The systems noted above basically enable fighter aircraft (and other aircraft types) to protect themselves against airborne threats, such as enemy radar detection and air-to-air (as well as surface-to-air) missiles. RWRs alert fighters to possible enemy radar activity, chaff and flare systems can be used to thwart infrared and radar-guided missiles, and DRFM-jamming can be used to reduce enemy radar effectiveness (and potentially even thwart radar-guided missiles). For higher output jamming, dedicated EW pods are also available.

Aselsan is marketing its subsystems as an integrated ECM solution - the 'Helicopter Electronic Warfare System' (HEWS). The specific reference to helicopters notwithstanding, Aselsan is actually pushing the HEWS as an ECM suite for fixed-wing aircraft as well. Given that Aselsan is also developing an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar and dedicated EW pod for the Turkish Air Force's F-16s, it is likely that the HEWS will serve as the foundation for a new ECM kit as well (destined for Turkey's F-16s).

Looking at Aselsan's messaging, it is evident that a very high level of competency was invested into developing the HEWS' subsystems. For example, Aselsan claims that the HEWS' DRFM-based jammer uses "transmitters with active electronically-scanned phased array antenna (AESA) architecture." This enables the system to provide "RF spectrum coverage with the most advanced countermeasure techniques."

The Aselsan HEWS or a variation of it could be a viable ECM suite for use on the JF-17. Granted, the PAF's fiscal constraints may limited the extent to which it could draw upon Aselsan's expertise, but then again, the situation may not be as dire if fighter funding were fully concentrated behind the JF-17. With the Aselsan HEWS, the JF-17 could potentially have a self-protection suite comparable to the AN/ALQ-211(v9) used on the PAF's F-16A/B Mid-Life Update (MLU), for example.

If the PAF is already using a comparable suite provided by Indra (e.g. ALQ-500) on the JF-17 Block-II, then it is unlikely it would need the Aselsan HEWS for itself. However, if Indra is not a factor, then the HEWS could be a viable option for the PAF. The PAF will have to be careful with its limited funds, there is nothing wrong with staging a significant ECM upgrade with the Block-III.

In any case, imagine the idea of having 50 (or potentially 100-150) JF-17s equipped to this level - i.e. a large number of comparatively low-cost aircraft equipped with the same radar, EW/ECM, and weapon-systems technology found on much more expensive alternatives. Sure, a single JF-17 equipped to these specifications is not going to be superior to an individual Rafale or Su-35, but a large number of them (each with an AESA radar and DRFM-based EW/ECM suite) data-linked to one another and an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft will offer a credible defensive deterrent.

In terms of export, the HEWS could be a way to enhance the exportability of the JF-17 before the introduction of the JF-17 Block-III. Subsystems such as helmet-mounted display and sight (HMD/S) and high off-boresight (HOBS) air-to-air missiles (AAM) are already available on the market. PAC could get these systems integrated onto the JF-17 Block-II, and in turn, offer it as a solution to prospective buyers, especially buyers that are likely keen on achieving strong qualitative enhancements with their big-ticket acquisitions, such as Morocco. It is not uncommon to see an export variant of a fighter be superior to the variant used domestically, it is after all much easier to iterate upon a prototype than it is with a fully operational (and busy) fleet. Just take the United Arab Emirates and the F-16E/F Block-60 as an example.

In the end, it is worth remembering that Aselsan is just an option, and there are other options; but this is the beauty of the JF-17, we can discuss options. There was news a while back of the PAF expressing its interest in the Thales Damocles targeting pod, and given the headway India is apparently making in terms of buying Rafales from Dassault, that pod is probably not going to be a reality for the PAF. But who cares? The PAF can keep exploring its options, such as the Aselsan ASELPOD, or a new Chinese targeting pod, and so on. At least the PAF does not have to sit idle and wait for the U.S. to release or approve a national need.

Source: http://quwa.org/2016/05/03/aselsan-provide-ewecm-gear-jf-17/ Mesajı Paylaş
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Author: Bilal Khan

Last week, Pakistan and Turkey agreed to enhance their defence industry ties. The agreement was reached in Turkey during a visit by Lt. General (retired) Syed Muhammad Owais, Pakistan's Secretary of Defence Production. The two sides also sought to explore possible joint-production initiatives.

Comment and Analysis

For the past 10 years, Turkey and Pakistan have built a steady foundation for extensive cooperation in a number of different areas related to defence and security. Not only have the two sides exchanged goods, but they have regularly trained with another in exercises (e.g. Anatolian Eagle and Indus Viper), but the two sides have also signed onto a bilateral pilot training and exchange program in 2015.

The Turkish defence industry is vast and competent, and as such, it offers the Pakistani armed forces many possible areas of armament acquisition and development.

At one point, the Pakistan Army was interested in the T-129 ATAK dedicated attack helicopter, but high costs and America's unwillingness to pass export clearances for the powerplant pushed the Army away (to acquire the AH-1Z Viper from the U.S. directly). In recent months, there have been reports of the Pakistan Army being interested in the Otokar Altay main battle tank (MBT), though it may be more eager to acquire some of the Altay's subsystems (e.g. active protection suite) for use on the al-Khalid and possibly forthcoming Haider MBT programs. The Pakistan Army also previously bought towed howitzers from the Turkish armament manufacturer MKEK.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) could also tap into Aselsan's expertise in developing and producing electronic warfare (EW) and electronic countermeasures (ECM) solutions for support on the JF-17. Perhaps the PAF could even consider acquiring the ASELPOD to meet the JF-17's air-to-ground mission needs. Roketsan could be consulted for sourcing laser-guided bomb (LGB) kits for Mk-81 and Mk-82 series general purpose bombs (GPB). TUBITAK SAGE's HGK precision-guided bomb (PGB) kit for Mk-84 GPBs could be an option as well. Pakistan could consider the Cirit laser-guided rocket and Mizraak anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) as well. Overall, there are no shortage of options in the area equipping Pakistan's aerial assets.

There are even numerous air defence options as well. For example, Pakistan could consider the Roketsan Hisar-series of short/medium-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM). The PAF could potentially take a look at the Aselsan Kalkan 3D phased-array radar as a possible option to replace its ageing Siemens Mobile Pulse-Doppler Radars (MPDR).

The Pakistan Navy presently operates two MRTP-33 fast attack crafts (FAC). In the late 2000s and early 2010s, the Pakistan Navy had sought to acquire a corvette design from Turkey, but severe economic issues forced the Navy step back from the idea. In place of the corvettes, the Navy began inducting Azmat-class FAC from China. In the long-term, the Pakistan Navy could potentially revisit the idea of exploring Turkish corvettes. If and when the Pakistan Navy is able to place new generation multi-mission frigates into its acquisition pipeline, it could consider acquiring command and control as well as combat management systems from Havelsan (e.g. GENESIS).

Although Pakistan has many options it could pursue in Turkey, tight funding will limit the extent Pakistan can engage with Turkey. At present, Pakistan's focus will be on achieving existing operational objectives, such as imbuing the JF-17 with credible precision-strike capabilities. As a result, we may see a focus (at least in the short-term) on specific - and comparatively lower-cost - solutions, such as the ASELPOD and potentially air-to-ground munitions from Roketsan and TUBITAK SAGE.

Besides direct acquisitions, Pakistan could greatly benefit from Turkey in the area of improving its own defence industry, specifically in terms of upgrading existing facilities, such as Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), Karachi Engineering & Shipyards Works (KSEW), Air Weapons Complex (AWC), etc. Through its technology transfer agreements as well as recent indigenous developments, Turkey has incredible exposure to recent developmental processes in the West. While not tangible like specific systems, cooperation in the form of learning, transferring expertise, assisting with manufacturing and assembly processes will offer considerable benefit to Pakistan in the form of long-term cost savings, enhanced efficiency, and ability to produce more complex systems.

Source: http://quwa.org/2016/05/07/turkey-pakistan-agree-enhance-defence-industry-ties/ Mesajı Paylaş
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Photo: defenseworld.net

May 16, 2016 Bilal Khan

Turkey recently agreed to upgrade (http://tribune.com.pk/story/1103620/turkey-to-modernise-pakistans-f-16s/) a number of the Pakistan Air Force's F-16s for $75 million U.S. The deal was announced by a senior official belonging to the Deik Foreign Economic Relations Board, an Istanbul-based organization.

Comment and Analysis

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) may be in the process of upgrading its 13 F-16A/B Block-15ADF (short for Air Defence Fighter), which were acquired second-hand from Jordan in 2014.

Although capable of launching the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), the F-16 ADFs were behind the PAF's other F-16A/Bs - these had gone through the Mid-Life Update (MLU), which equipped them with the same radar and avionics as the PAF's newer F-16C/D Block-52+.

Seeing the Turkish defence industry contracted to the task is not surprising. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Aselsan were responsible for the MLU, which was done on over 40 legacy PAF F-16s. That said, it is unclear if the upgrade is in fact for the F-16 ADFs. The value of the contract - $75 million U.S. - is on the low side, even for the MLU. In 2006-2007 the MLU cost the PAF around $20-25 million a unit. This is either a deposit or initial payment, or is a comparatively minor upgrade (such as airframe restoration).

In any case, putting the F-16 ADFs through the MLU would be a welcome move. While not a qualitative driver, it would at least standardize the entirety of the PAF's fleet along the same baseline in terms of radars, avionics, and weapons.

With Pakistan's fiscal position precarious, the sight of used F-16s may be more commonplace in the PAF in the coming years. The value proposition of used F-16s in the context of the PAF was discussed on Quwa in January. The PAF has the infrastructure to add Block-15 and Block-32/42/52, and there are many used airframes in use and potentially available on the market. If the PAF was to go this route, one could expect TAI and Aselsan to be at the front of structurally restoring and upgrading the PAF's 'new' F-16s.

Source: http://quwa.org/2016/05/16/turkey-will-upgrade-pakistans-f-16s/ Mesajı Paylaş
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#4
Haz 07, 2016, 01:52 ÖS Last Edit: Haz 04, 2017, 01:07 ÖÖ by Sabri Ünal
Will Turkey Modernize Pakistan's Attack Submarine Fleet?

Istanbul and Islamabad are in talks over upgrading three Pakistan Navy diesel-electric attack submarines.

By Franz-Stefan Gady: June 07, 2016



Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif met Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık at the Pakistan Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi on June 3, 2016. Image Credit: ISPR

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık met his Pakistani counterpart, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, on June 3 in Islamabad to discuss bilateral defense relations including a contract to modernize the Pakistan Navy's three Agosta 90B-class (aka Khalid-class) diesel-electric attack submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion systems, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

According to the Turkish daily Milliyet, Turkey's defense minister expects a deal to be signed by the end of this month. No additional details about the Turkey-Pakistan defense deal have so far been revealed.

Some Pakistani defense analysts have speculated that the upgrade could entail the modernization of the Khalid-class submarines' combat management system, by, for example, Turkish defense contractor Havelsan, who has successfully developed a combat management system for the Turkish Navy's submarine fleet -- primarily consisting of variants of German Type 209 boats.

While in Pakistan, Turkey's defense minister also discussed the possible sale of four Ada-class stealth corvettes and T-129 multi-role attack helicopters. "One of the most important issues between [the two countries] is a deal for T129 attack helicopters," Işık said during a press conference.

The T-129 is a multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter co-developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries and AgustaWestland. The aircraft is currently operated by the Turkish Army and is being offered for export to a number of other countries, besides Pakistan.

Islamabad considered purchasing the helicopter a few years back, but ultimately opted for the Bell Helicopters AH-1Z Viper due to the United States' unwillingness to clear the export of the T-129's U.S.-made turboshaft engines (LHTEC CTS-800-4A, an engine primarily developed for the cancelled Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche helicopter).

The four Ada-class corvettes would be built in Pakistan, according to the minister, although previous press reports indicated that only three ships would be constructed in Karachi over a ten-year period. The Ada-class vessels are littoral combat warships, primarily designed for offshore and high-sea patrolling, but can also be used for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions during wartime.

Pakistan has allegedly also expressed interest in Turkey's first indigenously-designed, third generation+ main battle tank (MBT) Altay. However, "[r]eports that Pakistan is interested in the Altay have to take into account that Turkey's new MBT will be an expensive acquisition for the Pakistan Army since the Altay is based on Western tank designs and will be a NATO-standard MBT," as I reported previously.

Discussions over the Altay MBT apparently did not take place during last week's visit.

During his stay, Işık also met Pakistan Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, in Rawalpindi. "During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including regional security and defense collaboration came under discussion. Turkish Defense Minister appreciated Pakistan Army's accomplishments in Op ZeA [Operation Zarb-e-Azb] and contributions towards regional peace and stability," according to a Pakistan Army press release.

Source: http://thediplomat.com/2016/06/will-turkey-modernize-pakistans-attack-submarine-fleet/ Mesajı Paylaş
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#5
Haz 25, 2016, 02:42 ÖÖ Last Edit: Haz 04, 2017, 01:03 ÖÖ by Sabri Ünal
Turkey & Pakistan ink Agosta 90B submarine upgrade deal



Turkey's STM and Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) have recently concluded a deal to upgrade the Pakistan Navy's three Agosta 90B submarines. The upgrade will be carried out in Pakistan.

According to STM, France's DCNS was the other competitor, but STM won on the basis of a "technically and commercially superior" offering, although it was DCNS that originally designed the submarine.

STM noted that the first upgraded submarine will be delivered in "45 months." This is likely a typo for '4-5 months.' The remaining two, which are currently listed as optional, will be delivered to Pakistan within a year of one another.

Comment and Analysis

News of this program was disclosed by the Turkish defence minister Fikri Isik at the beginning of June. In an earlier analysis on Quwa, it was believed that Turkey would equip the Agosta 90B with new electronics and sensor systems, such as Havelsan's next generation submarine combat management system.

In fact, Pakistan's Agosta 90Bs (and potentially even its forthcoming Chinese submarines) could benefit from a number of new subsystems - e.g. electronic support system, sonar, etc - being developed for the Turkish Navy's next generation submarine platform, the Type 214TN. Of course, this does not preclude the possibility of Western European or even American vendors being contracted (by STM or Pakistan).

The recently signed contract was with STM, a shipbuilder that has experience implementing subsystem upgrades onto existing submarines. Pakistan will still need to secure the subsystems STM will implement, though it is also possible that STM will award those contracts (in the capacity of a program manager).

Currently, one submarine has been placed in the implementation pipeline, the remaining two are listed as "optional." Although costs could be an issue, it is likely Pakistan's primary concern is the fact that it would lose significant operational capacity if it pulls more than one of its five submarines from service.

Pakistan is also interested in acquiring four Ada-class corvettes, though it will need a $400 million loan from Turkey to help finance the acquisition. If brought to fruition, the Ada-class corvettes - and MILGEM platform generally - could form the nucleus of Pakistan's future surface fleet.

Source: http://quwa.org/2016/06/22/turkey-pakistan-ink-agosta-90b-submarine-upgrade-deal/ Mesajı Paylaş
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İlgili kaynak, bu konunun öncüsü bir haber yayınlamış ama vaktinde aktaramamışız.

http://quwa.org/2016/06/04/pakistan-will-get-turkey-upgrade-agosta-90b-submarines/ Mesajı Paylaş
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STM to Modernize Khalid-class Agosta 90B Submarines of the Pakistan Navy


Pakistan Navy's Agosta 90B SSK

STM has achieved major success as it was awarded the submarine modernization tender initiated by Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production against the company which has built the submarines. Thus, engineering exports will be initiated in our country for the first time in the field of submarines, a field that calls for advanced technology.


STM Breaks New Ground In Pakistan

STM has marked major success in being awarded the international tender that was initiated for the half-life modernization of class "Agosta 90B" submarines in the inventory of Pakistani Naval Forces; competing against the French company which designed and built the submarines themselves. Covering a total of 3 submarine modernization orders; 1 of which is confirmed in addition to 2 orders on an optional basis; the contract was signed on 22 June 2016 in Rawalpindi/Pakistan; between Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production and STM; under the supervision of officials from the Embassy of Pakistan in Turkey and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries.

As part of the project regarding the modernization of class "Agosta 90B" submarines; STM entered a long, compelling competitive evaluation process with French DCNS Shipyard which undertook the designing and production operations for the aforementioned submarines. After a tendering process beginning on April 16, STM was found to be technically and commercially superior and was selected as the main contractor to sign the contract. The modernization operations will be performed at a local shipyard in Pakistan. The first submarine will be delivered in 45 months. The other submarines are estimated to be modernized with 1 year in between the modernization of each.

Source: http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4119 Mesajı Paylaş
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#8
Eki 06, 2016, 07:28 ÖS Last Edit: Eki 06, 2016, 08:29 ÖS by Yönetim
Author: Bilal Khan


Foreword: This is not a news story, but a piece for the purpose of discussion. There are no official plans on the part of the Pakistan Air Force or Pakistan Aeronautical Complex to procure the Turkish Aerospace Industries Hürkuş.



Could the TAI Hürkuş work for Pakistan?

The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Hürkuş is billed as a "new generation basic trainer aircraft." With its low-wing and tandem two-seat design as well as turboprop powerplant, the Hürkuş is being offered by TAI as a successor to older generation jet-trainers, namely the Cessna T-37 Tweet and its contemporaries, in use by the Turkish Air Force as well as the overseas market.

Development of the Hürkuş began in 2006 when the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) awarded TAI a contract to design, develop, and produce a next-generation basic flight trainer. The Hürkuş conducted its maiden flight in August 2013. In July 2016, the Hürkuş-A - which is intended for the civilian market - had achieved certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency. The Hürkuş-B, which is to be the standard trainer variant equipped with a modern glass cockpit, is currently under development. A lightweight attack variant (akin to the popular A-29 Super Tucano) - i.e. Hürkuş-C - is also under development with test flights scheduled for May 2017 (IHS Jane's).

The TAI Hürkuş is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68T turboprop engine, which enables the Hürkuş to achieve a maximum speed of 574 km/h. In contrast, the T-37 - a single engine basic jet trainer - is capable of a maximum speed of 684 km/h. Although 15% slower than the T-37 (but close in terms of range and superior in service ceiling or maximum altitude), the Hürkuş - and turboprop trainers in general - are said to possess substantively lower operating costs thanks to the use of modern turboprop engines. For example, the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano reportedly boasts a per-hour flight cost of less than $500. While fuel consumption costs can be taken as-is, the total operating cost of an aircraft has to be determined based on its fuel consumption costs, the cost of maintenance (e.g. spare parts) and other aspects in order to come to a fair assessment.

Internally, the Hürkuş has a pressurized cockpit that is equipped with an on-board oxygen generating system (OBOGS), which negates the need for oxygen canisters, enabling for extended or long duration flights. The glass cockpit is accompanied by a hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) system, which is meant to familiarize pilots with modern fighter flying systems from an early stage.

Unfortunately, the Hürkuş has yet to secure a firm order from the Turkish Air Force, which had instead opted for 40 Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) KT-1s. However, TAI is still intent on marketing the Hürkuş, and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is reportedly among the countries the Turkish aerospace vendor is hoping to secure as a Hürkuş customer (Defense News).

The idea of the PAF procuring the Hürkuş stems from the eventual - though much overdue - replacement of its remaining T-37 Tweet basic jet trainers. For context, the PAF's T-37s were supposed to have been replaced by the K-8, which was jointly developed by Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). However, a combination of U.S. sanctions (on China and Pakistan), strenuous funding issues in Pakistan, and a service-life-extension program (SLEP) implemented on the T-37 had put the K-8 induction process on a slower track than what was originally intended.

According to Flight Global's 2016 World Air Forces inventory list, the PAF has 38 active K-8s and 18 T-37s. The PAF had also secured 34 surplus T-37s from the Turkish Air Force over the past year. Retired PAF Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail had suggested (to Defense News in 2015) that the PAF ought to consider a new turboprop design akin to the Hürkuş to eventually replace the T-37s. The rationale is basically the general idea behind modern turboprop trainers - i.e. they are close in performance but substantially cheaper to fly in comparison to jet trainers (as discussed above).

There are other valuable considerations at play as well. For example, the Hürkuş' HOTAS and glass cockpit could offer a training experience that is in closer alignment with the flight experience of the JF-17 and F-16 (and hopefully next-generation platforms). However, the T-37s are aging, and while the PAF has done an excellent job in extending the service life and continuing with the platform, the Tweet will eventually be retired. In that sense, one could consider the Hürkuş an option, but the K-8 as well.

Unlike the Hürkuş, there are hundreds of K-8s in service around the world, and while it is a jet aircraft (i.e. with high fuel consumption), its scale, ongoing production of spare parts, and the fact that the PAF is in possession of the infrastructure to operate the aircraft could position the K-8 as the affordable package, especially in comparison to the Hürkuş. In this sense, an updated K-8 variant with HOTAS and glass cockpit could be an attractive solution for the PAF as a replacement for its remaining T-37s.

Ultimately, the PAF may not opt for the Hürkuş or turboprop trainers in general. However, this does not negate the market potential of the Hürkuş. Outside of the PAF, an increasing number of air forces are opting for turboprop trainers in lieu of basic jet trainers such as the K-8. For example, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II's user base includes the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Morocco and New Zealand. The Pilatus PC-21 was acquired by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Switzerland, and Australia. It is worth noting that it was Pilatus' PC-9 platform that provided the basis for the T-6 Texan II. Furthermore, armed versions of these trainers, such as the A-29 Super Tucano, have also generated a respectable customer base, especially in the developing world.

In this sense, there may an alternative to having the PAF procure the platform, and that is to involve PAC in the Hürkuş program independently. Interestingly, Pakistan's Minister of Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain outlined his intention to make the country's defence industry entities self-sufficient, i.e. not dependent on government subsidies as a means to operate. Investment from the government to enable PAC to partner with TAI in the development, production, marketing, and sales of the Hürkuş may be an avenue worth examining. Of course, there is the reality that the market is already saturated at this point with a slew of turboprop platforms from a relatively large number of vendors. Furthermore, lack of a customer in Turkey and/or Pakistan may not bode well for the image of the Hürkuş.

In conclusion, it is difficult to assuredly back the Hürkuş, especially since its viability would, at least in Pakistan's context, depend on the PAF's decision, which would be to either maintain the course with the K-8, or pivot to a new platform such as the Hürkuş. A variable that could tilt the PAF's decision towards the Hürkuş would be concessions in the form of transfer-of-technology and commercial offsets, but the value of the latter aspect would be dependent on its realizable market potential.

Source: http://quwa.org/2016/09/19/discussion-tai-hurkus-work-pakistan/ Mesajı Paylaş
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