UMTAS sets the bar high for Turkey’s new weapons

The infrared spectrum (IR) seeker head developed by Turkish electronics powerhouse Aselsan for the UMTAS anti-tank missile.

Hardly a day passes without a Turkish defense company proudly announcing that it has designed, developed and produced a weapon system the country would normally buy off-the-shelf from a foreign supplier. The most recent  indigenously developed Turkish weapon  is an anti-tank missile, the UMTAS.

Turkish military officials are anxiously awaiting the first serial production and delivery of the UMTAS.

“After years of going from one foreign supplier to another, we are happy to have our companies providing us with national solutions,” a senior Army official said.

Procurement officials said the UMTAS has recently  undergone several successful field tests.

“This system can quickly find foreign buyers and mark an impressive transformation [of Turkey] from an import-dependent country into an exporting one,” one procurement official said. “It is relatively low-cost and reliable.”

State-owned missile maker Roketsan initiated the long-range anti-tank UMTAS missile project in efforts, first, to meet local demand from the Turkish Armed Forces, and later to export it, especially to countries in the region.

The UMTAS, with its infrared imaging and laser-seeker options, is an anti-tank missile with a range of  8 kilometers  to be used  in air-to-ground and  ground-to-ground operations.

Roketsan officials said the system  is going through further tests for technical properties and compatibility with environmental conditions. Thus far, the system has completed ballistic-missile tests and controlled-missile tests, and its sub-system design has been finished, they said.

The UMTAS  is considered the official anti-tank system for the T-129, the helicopter gunship Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is co-producing with Italian-British AgustaWestland in a US $3.2 billion project. It also can be integrated into  the Anka, Turkey’s first locally developed unmanned aircraft. Other potential platforms to be outfitted with the UMTAS are armored land vehicles and naval vessels.

Burak Bekdil