The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has taken delivery of the first Peace Eagle airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft from Boeing during a ceremony at Konya Air Base in Turkey.
The aircraft represents the first of the four Peace Eagle AEW&Cs the company will supply to TAF to help the country improve its self-defence capabilities, under a $1.6bn deal signed with the Turkish Government in May 2002.
Boeing Peace Eagle programme manager Mark Ellis said the Peace Eagle programme is an example of great cooperation among the Turkish Government and the local industry teammates, including Turkish Aerospace Industries, HAVELSAN, Turkish Airlines and MiKES.
"What’s more, the aircraft can be used immediately because initial training for mission system operators, maintenance crews and pilots has been completed,” Ellis said.
The contract also covers supply of ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance.
Based on Boeing 737-700 commercial airplane, the Peace Eagle AEW&C aircraft is equipped with Northrop Grumman-built multi-role electronically scanned array antenna with integrated identification friend-or-foe (IFF) capabilities.
Expected to enable TAF to simultaneously track airborne and maritime targets, the aircraft also includes a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades and an extensive communications suite and aerial refuelling capability.
As subcontractors to Boeing, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is modifying three aircraft and providing flight operations, while Havelsan is providing system software and the ground support centre.
An additional two AEW&C aircraft are scheduled to be handed over to TuAF this year, while delivery of the fourth will take place in 2015.
Apart from Turkey, 737 AEW&C platforms are also operated by the Australian and South Korean air forces.
Image: Turkish Air Force’s first Peace Eagle AEW&C aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.