Aselsan, the leading defence electronics company in Turkey, and one of the 100 largest in the world, has completed the prototype production of its new generation targeting pod, dubbed “AselPOD”.
In late 2010 the company started its integration works on TuAF’s F-4E 2020 aircraft in cooperation with 1st Air Supply and Maintenance Centre Command (1st ASMC) of the Turkish Air Force (TuAF). Integration works will be verified with ground and flight tests on both F-4E 2020 and F-16 Block 40 aircraft. According to sources, as of March 2011, integration works on the F-4E 2020s have been completed and ground vibration tests went without hitch. A TuAF F-4E 2020 aircraft fitted with AselPOD performed its first test flight last April.
Designed, developed and produced under a US$51.55 million contract awarded by the SSM on June 26, 2006 to meet the targeting pod requirement of TuAF, Asel-POD will replace TuAF’s aging AN/AAQ-14 LANTIRN targeting pods. The integration of the AselPOD onto the F-4E 2020 is being carried out at the 1st ASMC facilities in Eskişehir. The 1stASMC’s share under the project is US$1.55 million from the total project sum of US$51.55 million. Aselsan will cooperate with Lockheed Martin for the integration of AselPOD onto F-16 Block 40 aircraft, for which negotiations between the two companies are ongoing. The integration of the AselPOD onto the F-16 Block 40 will also be carried out at 1st ASMC facilities. Aselsan will develop four AselPOD prototypes, and subject to successful ground and flight tests, the company is expected to be contracted by the SSM for the serial production of 16 further AselPODs for TuAF.
AselPOD incorporates a high-resolution, mid-wave 3rd Generation (3–5 micron) FLIR (with 640×512 pixels detector), a daylight camera (CCD-TV), a Laser Designator, a Laser Range Finder, a Laser Spot Tracker for tracking targets and for directing LGBs to the target, a Laser Marker Unit for joint operations and an Inertial Measuring Unit to provide precise target coordination and orientation data. AselPOD will enable pilots to engage their targets even when partly obscured by cloud or countermeasures. The 220kg AselPOD is 240 cm in length and 43 cm in diameter. According to the contract, the unit price of the prototype AselPOD will be US$1.8 million. For its 30 Advanced F-16C/D Block 50 (Block 50+) aircraft, TuAF has ordered 30 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper ATP targeting and 30 LANTIRN ER navigation pods from Lockheed Martin under a US$118 million contract awarded in December 2009.
SD – TR Defence