Almost immediately after the 11am opening ceremony, Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim visited the Tubitak SAGE (Defence Industry Research and Development Institute) to unveil the Peregrin Within Visual Range (WVR) and Merlin Beyond Visual Range AAMs.
They are first the such weapons to be developed by Turkish industry, as it works to fulfil all the indigenous needs for the Turkish fighter (TF-X) programme, well into the next decade. Both missiles have been undergoing development since 2012, under Project Goktug, according to the Turbitak Director, Erdal Cakmak. He indicated that both missiles should be integrated and test fired within the next two years.
According to one source, the Peregrin (Gokdogan) has a range of 30kms (20 miles) while the larger Merlin (Bozdogan) is around 65kms (40 miles). Both are currently at the design stage, but Mr Cakmak said "it was an appropriate time to show them off".
Although Tubitak SAGE is responsible for design on the two AAMs, a decision on which company will be responsible for producing the AAMs has not been taken. Tubitak SAGE earlier developed the SOM stand-off missile, which Roketsan is now producing.
The government backed institute claims the Peregrin will have a high resolution dual colour imaging infra-red seeker, with a comprehensive off-boresight capability, along with advanced counter-measures. The Merlin has a solid-state RF seeker, with advanced counter-measure capability and datalink update.
Tubitak SAGE has been responsible for designing several new weapons over the past ten years, which includes the Som-J being integrated on Turkey’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Another on display was the NEB (Nufuz Edici Bomba – Penetrator Bomb) 84 weapon which is now in serial production with MKE. They are being fitted to the Turkish Air Force F-4E-2020s and F-16s.
Alongside it was the new LHGK (Laser High precision Guided Kit) 84 bomb fitted with a GPS/INS HGK-2 guidance kit. The latter is a development of the HGK-1, upgraded with a semi active laser (SAL) to strike moving targets. The weapon is expected to be part of the F-35 JSF Block 4 weapon integration although it is being tested on the F-16.