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Roketsan takes aim at Australian opportunities

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 2, 2017

Turkish firm Roketsan is making a very serious pitch at the Avalon Airshow to promote long-range stand-off missiles to be carried by the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The company is hoping that Australia and other F-35 partner nations will buy its missile, a variant of the SOM (stand off missile) already in service with the Turkish Air Force aboard F-16 and upgraded F-4E aircraft.

“It has four variants. SOM-J is specifically designed for the F-35 internal weapons bay,” says Roketsan project manager Sevsay Aytar Ortac, speaking at the Avalon Airshow on Wednesday.

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“We are hoping all JSF partners will use SOM-J to fill the capability gap of F-35.”

Turkey is also acquiring F-35s. Fitting the missile inside the weapons bay rather than placing it on a wing hardpoint means F-35 retains its full stealth capability.

SOM-J has a range of 250 kilometres with guidance by GPS, INS and terrain navigation. It also has Link-16 capability for mid-course targeting update or mission abort.

Roketsan says SOM-J is a next generation precision missile designed to be low observable, precision and able to be used in all weather against defended high value, stationary and moving targets on sea or land.

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Chairman of the Roketsan board of directors Emin Alpman said most of their products were combat proven in the current fighting in the Middle East.

That includes MAM-L, an unpowered laser-guided munition designed to be released from UAVs, and 2.75 inch laser-guided rockets. The company manufactures a diverse range of munitions, including a Hellfire equivalent and guidance kits for Mark 81 and 82 bombs.

Aytar Ortac said Roketsan formed a teaming agreement with Lockheed Martin missiles and fire control division in 2014, working together to develop, market and produce SOM-J.

“As far as we know the Australian Air Force would like to fill this capability gap. There are only two options and one of them is SOM-J,” she said.

The other contender for an F-35 standoff missile capability is Norwegian firm Kongsberg, with its JSM (Joint Strike Missile). Norway is also buying the F-35.

Roketsan is an Ankara-based Turkish firm which was founded in 1988 to manufacture rockets and missiles for the Turkish armed forces.

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