The president of Turkish Defence Industries, ?smail Demir, revealed the new Aselsan AESA radar on 10 November, saying the system will be retrofitted onto the Turkish Air Force’s (TuAF’s) F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft and Akinci unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as well as the future Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X)/National Combat Aircraft (MMU). Turkey’s Aselsan has created a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as part of OZGUR project that aims to modernize Turkey’s Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 30 fleet. Turkey owns 270 F-16C/Ds, but the OZGUR modernization will only cover 35 Block 30 aircraft.
Aselsan’s Murad AESA radar uses the latest Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology. This multifunctional radar is capable of simultaneous air-to-air, air-to-ground, air-to-sea missions and has electronic attack capabilities. An active electronically scanned array (AESA) is a type of phased array antenna, which is a computer-controlled array antenna in which the beam of radio waves can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antenna. In the AESA, each antenna element is connected to a small solid-state transmit/receive module (TRM) under the control of a computer, which performs the functions of a transmitter and/or receiver for the antenna.
The Turkish Air Force’s has 174 F-16C and 58 F-16D aircraft in its inventory. The F-16 is the mainstay of the TuAF’s front-line combat aviation force, with the single-seat C and twin-seat D models having been in near-continuous upgrades since their introduction in the late 1980s. The upgrade includes extending the F-16’s flight hours from 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours — and avionics modernization. The modernization includes a new mission computer, a system interface unit, new cockpit color displays, hydraulic fuel gauge, engine display screen, new national identification friend/foe system, new radar warning receivers, and an inertial navigation system.