The Turkish Navy is considering the procurement of long-range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to augment its fleet of ATR-72 and CN-235-based MPAs.
Based on the parameters listed by the Turkish Navy, analysts believe that it is essentially looking for an MPA in the size and class of the Boeing P-8 Poseidon. In fact, the P-8 seems to be the only option available.
Comment and Analysis
While the P-8 Poseidon is basically the only existing MPA design that fits the Turkish Navy’s parameters, one should not discount the possibility of Turkey trying to produce a custom solution.
The country has been engaged in a long-enduring indigenization process across the entire spectrum of its defence needs; air, sea, land, space, electronics, etc.
It is plausible, though unlikely, that Turkey could tap into the expertise on hand with Aselsan as well as a foreign partner to develop solution akin to the P-8. One route could be to engage with Airbus Defence and Space and perhaps utilize the A320.
On the other hand, given that the Turkish Air Force already operates the Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, which uses the Boeing 737 as its platform.
Acquiring the P-8 would enable Turkey to scale the 737’s infrastructure, which in turn would enable it to save on costs. Furthermore, the P-8 is a comparatively mature and credible platform; with the U.S. and India as its current users, the P-8 was also ordered by the U.K and Australia.