Turkiye Integrates First National Helicopter System on Frigate

Turkiye Integrates First National Helicopter System on Frigate

Turkish defense contractor STM recently announced the successful integration of Turkey’s first nationally-produced helicopter securing and transfer system onto the TCG Istanbul frigate. The milestone comes after Canada previously embargoed a landing system for the ship.

Overcoming Vital System Export Ban

Originally, Turkey aimed to procure a foreign helicopter deck locking apparatus for its Istanbul-class frigate program. However, a Canadian embargo enacted two years ago forced Turkey to indigenize the system.

Companies STM and Altinay swiftly designed and manufactured the advanced platform under 18 months, circumventing dependency on potentially unreliable partners.

Rapid Progression to Operational Testing

Following initial trials, the tailor-made Turkish system underwent factory qualifications in late 2022. The securing apparatus was then installed aboard the TCG Istanbul frigate, now undergoing sea trials.

The testing hit a major milestone in August 2023 as a Turkish Navy SH-70 helicopter successfully landed on the TCG Istanbul’s deck using the localization system. Its automatic safing and retention function securely moved the helicopter below deck – validating full functionality.

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Strengthening National Security Posture

According to STM General Manager Özgür Güleryüz, successfully developing and integrating the Turkish landing system despite the prior export ban represents a major leap towards supply chain independence.

“Our strong local ecosystem allowed us to indigenise a critical system that was subject to an embargo and to bring it to the Turkish defence sector. The Helicopter Securing and Transfer System, which we have developed with Altınay Defence, has not only provided us with an important capability, but has also ended our dependence on foreign countries for such systems. We have integrated the first national system, which was made available within a very short time, aboard TCG İSTANBUL. We will now be integrating our national Helicopter Securing and Transfer System aboard the vessels of the Turkish Naval Forces, and under our export projects carried out abroad. I wish to congratulate all our stakeholders and all the STM employees who contributed to the development of this system for their contributions in increasing the localisation rate of our national ships.”

Fielding the platform boosts Turkish naval capabilities while removing reliance on foreign nations for maintaining readiness.

Expanding Localization to Boost Exports

With qualification testing completed, the innovative Turkish helicopter deck system will be integrated across the Turkish Navy’s warships and educators going forward.

STM also aims to market the proven, cost-effective system under its naval vessel export programs to generate foreign sales.

Technical Details and Capabilities

The system employs numerous subcomponents including cameras and ship/helicopter-mounted lasers to instantly calculate relative positioning, allowing precise guided landing.

Rapid helicopter capture devices then secure the aircraft on touchdown and enable below-deck stowage via a single control station – maximizing deck safety.

Overall, Turkey’s breakthrough in fielding indigenous helicopter landing systems underscores its goal of supply chain independence across critical defense technologies.

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