During the 2011 International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF), held in Istanbul on May 10 to 13, EADS Cassidian signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), covering the participation of Turkish industry in the Talarion Male UAV program. This modular surveillance platform is being developed to meet projected requirements from France, Germany and Spain. The first one is scheduled to fly in 2014.
EADS has been courting Turkey as a potential Talarion partner for some time, and the nation has sought to expand its technological base through a range of collaborative projects. The investment is being provided by Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM). Although Talarion faces competition from Anglo-French, Israeli, Italian and U.S. rivals for future ‘EuroMale’ requirements, Cassidian emphasizes the ability of the vehicle to operate in civilian airspace, and as a consequence its ability to be used in security and commercial roles that are outside the realm of current UAVs.
TAI is also developing a smaller UAV in the shape of the Anka, the first example of which flew at the end of last year. The company hopes to receive a production contract from the Turkish armed forces before the end of the year. The company’s experience in developing onboard systems for this vehicle has relevance to its participation in the Talarion program. Also at IDEF, TAI announced that it intends to fly its Hurkus turboprop trainer in August next year, with first deliveries slated for 2014.