Dec 13, 2015
Turkey receives final Peace Eagle AEW&C platform
The handover of the aircraft, dubbed Peace Eagle in Turkish service, concludes a delivery process which began last year. The three aircraft previously handed over will now be upgraded with new software to bring them up to a common configuration with this latest addition to the fleet.
While Boeing has not commented on the nature of these upgrades, the company has previously stated it was looking to give the platform the ability to detect and track incoming ballistic missiles. Other improvements proposed that build on the Block 40/45 upgrade for the 707-derived E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) platform include equipping the aircraft for the airborne command-and-control mission, as well as for the onboard control of unmanned aerial vehicles. The fitting of an infrared search-and-track sensor has also previously been touted by Boeing.
Turkey signed up for the 737 AEW&C programme in May 2003. Under the deal, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Turkish Airlines, Havelsan, and Aselsan received workshare as part of an offset deal with local industry.
The first fully integrated 737 AEW& C was due to be handed over to Turkey in 2009. That date was not met with Boeing having informed Turkey in November 2006 of a 26-month programme slippage arising from delays caused by software and equipment integration problems. Further delays ensued that it was not until 21 February 2014 that the first example was delivered, with a second following at the beginning of May and a third on 4 September 2014. With the final example now handed over, all four aircraft are assigned to 131 Squadron at Konya.