MERSIN, Turkey – The EFES-2022 exercise in the Aegean Sea ended June 9 and involved more than 1,000 personnel from 37 nations, with the United States providing its San Antonio Arlington-class amphibious transport dock as well as elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.
More than 40 Turkish defense companies also took part in the exercise to display their products. For the first time, Lentatek’s Kargi anti-radiation roam drone and Turkish Aerospace Industries’ target drone were on display.
Ismail Demir, Turkey’s top procurement official, told reporters that some of the products seen in the exhibition area participated in EFES-2022. “Although the products are shown here statically, you can also see how these products perform in the field during exercises. Seeing how our products perform in the exercise area is important for both the field and to show the capability of our defense industry,” he said.
The Kargi is advertised as fully domestically developed, and it was designed to suppress and destroy enemy radar and surface-to-air missile systems. The system made its maiden flight in 2018 and flew for six hours.
Turkey’s largest defense company, Aselsan, worked on the system with Lentatek. The current acceptance phase is expected to complete in Q3 2022, with the mass production phase commencing by the end of the year.
TAI’s target drone, which looks like a missile, was mounted on the company’s Anka drone in the exhibition area. Omer Yildiz, deputy general manager of the company’s unmanned aerial systems, told reporters that the new target drone can reach speeds of Mach 0.9.
“We aim to reach supersonic speed by the end of the year, if we solve some engine problems. Our goal to reach supersonic speed is to imitate a rocket that can fly at supersonic speed. We want to learn the complexity of supersonic flight and develop appropriate flight control algorithms,” Yildiz said.
Yildiz also announced that the Anka will soon be equipped with a new missile.
“We have new ammunition: Tubitak Sage has developed the Kuzgun [Raven in English]. It is heavier than others, it weighs about 100 kilograms [220 pounds]. It can carry a warhead of 60 to 90 kilograms. It has a solid propellant propulsion system. This ammunition can travel much longer distances thanks to its engine propulsion. We will start testing it this month,” Yildiz said.
The Anka was able to engage targets with MAM-L and MAM-T smart munitions manufactured by Roketsan. After deployment of Kuzgun, the engagement range is expected to exceed 100 kilometers (62 miles).
Tayfun Ozberk is Turkey correspondent for Defense News.