The MELTEM-III Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which was recently added to the Turkish Naval Forces Command inventory, was spotted carrying two Mk-54 type Light Torpedoes.
The admission activities of six ATR-72-600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft with Naval Surveillance Capability, which were procured within the scope of the MELTEM-III Project that was initiated in line with the needs of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, had recently started. Photographed during a flight by Oğuz Eroğuz, the ATR-72-600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft with the tail number “TCB-751” belonging to the Turkish Naval Forces Command was equipped with two Mk-54 type Light Torpedoes.
ATR-72-600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, equipped with critical systems especially for antisubmarine warfare (ASW) missions, will use Mk-46 Mod 5 and Mk-54 Torpedoes within the scope of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) missions.
Turkey’s Mk54 Supply
The US Department of State had approved the decision of possible foreign military sale (FMS) to Turkey that contains 100 Mk54 lightweight torpedoes, with an estimated price of 105 million dollars in April 2007. The torpedo in question is actively used by the S-70B Sea Hawk and maritime patrol aircraft.
Mk54 Light Torpedo developed by the USA Raytheon company has a speed of 40 knots, a total weight of 276 kilograms, a 44-kilogram high-explosive warhead, and an active or passive/active acoustic guidance system.
The agreement worth USD 218,682,313 for the Turkish Naval Forces Command, covering the procurement of six ATR-72-600 Naval Surveillance Capable Maritime Patrol Aircraft and two General Purpose Aircraft, was signed between the SSB and the Italian company Alenia Aermacchi (Leonardo).
Within the scope of the project, it has been decided that Alenia Aermacchi will be the main contractor and the Turkish Aerospace will be a sub-contractor. In this context, following the agreement signed between Italian Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A and Turkish Aerospace in July 2012, the structural and electrical modifications, system tests, and Integrated Logistics Support activities of six ATR-72-600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to be procured are carried out by Turkish Aerospace.
Two ATR-72-600 General Purpose Aircraft with tail number TCB-701 and TCB-702 to be procured within the scope of Project MELTEM-III were delivered to the Turkish Navy in July 2013 and August 2013. Performance-Based Logistics service of the aircraft started on 29 July 2013.
The first ATR-72-600 aircraft to be converted to the “Maritime Patrol Aircraft” configuration within the framework of the Project MELTEM-III, arrived at Turkish Aerospace facilities on 19 April 2013. The first ATR-72-600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft was planned to be delivered to the Turkish Navy in 2017, but the project was delayed a little due to the difficulties experienced in certification activities.
The first ATR-72-600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft with tail number TCB-751 to be delivered to the Turkish Navy within the scope of Project MELTEM-III has been transferred to Turkish Aerospacefacilities in April 2020 for final tests.