President of Turkish Defense Industry İsmail Demir announced on December 16, that two more P-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft had been delivered to the Naval Forces Command as part of the Meltem-3 Project.
Head of Defense Industry Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir stated on his social media account, “We delivered two more P-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to the Naval Forces Command as part of the Meltem-3 Project. Our Maritime Patrol aircraft, which serve as a strategic component of the Naval Forces Command, add strength to our country’s power in the sky.”
Following the delivery of the first Maritime Patrol Aircraft on 10 December 2020, an additional three Maritime Patrol Aircraft and a Naval Utility Aircraft were delivered to the Naval Forces Command under the “Meltem III” project, which was signed between Leonardo and TAI in July 2012 and covers the conversion of six ATR72-600 aircraft into Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Thus, the Navy now has four P-72 Maritime Patrol aircraft, which are an important force multiplier for the control and protection of Turkey, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea regions.
ASELSAN supplied the P-72 aircraft with systems/devices, including Milsoft’s Link 11 and Link 16 systems, and HAVELSAN updated the Marine Patrol Ground Station to accommodate P-72 aircraft. Thales provided mission systems including radar, EDT, and acoustics for the aircraft.
In comparison to the Turkish Navy’s existing P-235 aircraft, the P-72 maritime patrol aircraft, which can stay in the field for longer periods of time, can also utilize the MK-54 torpedo, which has more modern features, in addition to the MK-46 torpedo.
The Turkish Naval Forces’ maritime patrol aircraft, of which there are currently ten in inventory, serves as a strategic element of the Turkish Armed Forces with its capabilities in aerial observation, electronic warfare, and anti-submarine warfare in the continental shelf and waters of national interest, which Turkey defines as the “Blue Homeland,” particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean regions. With the completion of the last two aircraft deliveries under the Meltem Project in 2022, the Turkish Naval Forces will have a total of 12 Maritime Patrol aircraft in service.