Air Defense: Turkey Develops Locally


December 1, 2021: Turkey recently successfully test fired the rocket used in its new Siper SAM (Surface to Air Missile). Siper is somewhat like the American Patriot, the Israeli David’s Sling and the Russian S400 systems. Turkey has purchased an S400 system but has not put it to work yet.

Siper is one of four SAM systems that comprise the new Turkish developed Hisar (“Fortress”) air defense system. Two Turkish firms have been developing this since 2007. When completed Hisar will give Turkey a modern air defense system.

Hisar consists of Hisar A, with a range of 15 kilometers, Hisar O with a range of 25 kilometers, Hisar U with a range of 100 or more kilometers and Siper with a range of 150 or more kilometers. The first two have been in development since 2007 and Hisar A entered service in 2021 with Hisar O approved for production in 2021 and ready for service by 2022. Hisar U and Siper are still at the prototype stage.

Hisar A batteries, each with four-to-six launcher vehicles, have been sent to Syria and Libya for some combat experience. Hisar A is mounted in a tracked vehicle that carries four ready-to-fire missiles plus with an electro/optical (visual) sensor and an FCS (fire control system) that can also operate with a radar each battery has. Hisar A is a heat seeking missile with a proximity fuze that detonates the warhead if the missile is close enough to do damage. Max altitude is five kilometers. The Hisar A missile uses INS (inertial guidance system) to get close enough to the target for the heat-seeker to take over.

Hisar O uses the same tech as Hisar A but has a larger missile carried in a heavy truck with six missiles. Each battery has three launcher vehicles plus another vehicle with an AESA radar and FCS. Hisar O missiles have a max range of 25 kilometers and max altitude of ten kilometers. Each launcher vehicle also has its own visual FCS like that used on Hisar A. The battery AESA radar has a max range of 60 kilometers but is most effective at 40 kilometers or less. The battery has several vehicles to carry the radar, FCS and communications system. The radar FCS can track up to sixty targets at a time and assign targets to each of the launcher vehicles.

Hisar U missiles are also truck mounted but use longer range radars and an FCS that does not support optical sensors.

Siper missiles are larger still and only use a battery radar and more complex guidance system in each missile.

Turkey expects to have all four systems in service by 2024. Compared to earlier development projects using complex tech that may be optimistic and the Hisar A/O systems use tech that has been around for decades. Turkey has made this work, especially with their UAVs and the laser guided missiles they use. The two Hisar systems still in development may be stuck there longer than planned.




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