Turkey has awarded its biggest defense company, Aselsan, a contract for the design, development, and production of a domestically-executed strategic radar. The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) signed the deal with Aselsan in early August.
The multimission phased-array radar, known as CAFRAD Faz-1, is expected to be similar to the ALPHA multimission M-2258 advanced lightweight phased-array naval radar. That radar – developed by Israel’s IAI and Elta for blue water and littoral warfare support – was selected by the Israeli Navy for upgrades to existing vessels and to equip new-build ships.
A project like the CAFRAD Faz-1 is quite ambitious for Aselsan, which is undertaking for the first time the development of such a complex radar. Regardless of any potential shortcomings in technological advancements during the developmental process, Aselsan is still optimistic that it will meet a timetable for delivery completions between 2014 and 2018. To speed the system’s development and leverage the country’s most advanced scientific minds, Aselsan has partnered with the state scientific research institute TÜBITAK.
The first phase of the project will entail the development of an illumination radar and a non-rotating identification friend or foe (IFF) system. This will pave the way for the much more difficult second phase that involves the development of long-range surveillance and multifunctional radars.
An Aselsan official said the CAFRAD demonstrator would equip the TF-2000, a Turkish developed air defense frigate, incorporating the primary antenna in the mast architecture. It will handle the vessel’s combat management and area air defense missile systems. For this effort, more sophisticated tests and development are not expected to start until after 2014.