Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency reports that the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM) has formally accepted the Meteksan Savunma MİLDAR millimetric wave (mmW) radar for use on the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK attack helicopter.
The SSM commissioned Meteksan to develop the MİLDAR in 2013. In December 2016, Meteksan and TAI began testing the MİLDAR from onboard the T129 ATAK. Meteksan aimed to see serial production of the MİLDAR commence in 2018 or 2019.
A mmW radar is an extremely high frequency (EHF) radar capable of transmitting radio waves from 30 to 300 GHz. Lower power requirements enable for relatively compact and lightweight radar suites, suitable for lightweight aircraft. The MİLDAR, like other mmW radars, can augment electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors in searching, identifying and engaging targets on land.
According to Anadolu Agency, the MİLDAR can detect multiple targets, target engagement and slow and fast scanning. It has a range of 12 km and is capable of also creating a terrain profile of up to 2.5 km.
Notes & Comments:
The MİLDAR aims to provide the T129 ATAK with analogous tracking and engagement capabilities to the AN/APG-78-equipped AN-64D/E Apache Longbow/Guardian. However, one of the marquee elements of the AN/APG-78 is its integration to the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The Longbow Hellfire uses a mmW seeker that works with the AN/APG-78 to engage targets.
Roketsan would have to transition the UMTAS ATGM-series, which currently semi-active laser-homing or imaging infrared (IIR), to a mmW seeker to achieve a similar solution. An alternate route could be to data-link the MİLDAR to the UMTAS wherein the UMTAS receives location data from the MİLDAR until it is close enough to the target to switch to the terminal-stage IIR seeker.
Ideally, the MİLDAR would also be positioned from the T129’s top-rotor, as opposed to occupying wing or hardpoint stations on the side. Granted, several T129s could operate together, with one serving as a scout or radar-unit for the flight. However, in 2016 Meteksan stated (text in Turkish) that efforts were underway to ultimately configure the MİLDAR above the top-rotor.