TechTurkey's Aselsan secures first export deal for KORKUT systems

Turkey's Aselsan secures first export deal for KORKUT systems

Three KORKUT sets during range shooting.
Three KORKUT sets during range shooting.
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10:38 AM EDT, June 4, 2024

Turkish company Aselsan has secured its first export deal for the KORKUT self-propelled anti-aircraft systems for an unknown foreign client. We present the capabilities of this "Turkish Gepard."

According to the Savunma Sanayi ST agency, the Turks have gained their first foreign client for the KORKUT systems. Details of the contract, including its value, the number of systems, and the ordering country, remain unknown. However, it can be presumed that it might be Ukraine, which is very satisfied with the German Gepards. Similarly, it was with the undisclosed client of the German Skynex system, which, over time, was spotted in Ukraine.

However, the availability of Gepards is very limited (only a small number of used units remain in a few countries), and essentially, the only currently completed and mass-producible equivalent are the closely related Turkish KORKUT systems.

KORKUT - the Turkish Gepard based on identical licensed solutions

The Turkish KORKUT system is essentially what the Polish PZA Loara could have been if the project had been completed according to the original plan. Introduced into service in the Turkish armed forces in 2016, KORKUT is a self-propelled anti-aircraft system capable of combating drones or cruise missiles at a distance of 2.5 to 3 miles.

The weapon is the well-known pair of Oerlikon GDF-003B 35 mm automatic cannons produced under license by Turkish MKE plants, which are a slightly modified version of those from the Gepard.

The Turkish version, identical to the original, features a firing rate of 550 rounds per minute, which, in the case of a pair of cannons, gives 1,100 rounds per minute. KORKUT can essentially use any 35x228 mm ammunition upon integrating the fire control system, such as SAPHEI-T (armor-piercing with explosive content, tracer, and incendiary agent), HEI-T (high-explosive incendiary with tracer), or APDS-T (armor-piercing with sub-caliber spin-stabilized tracer shell).

However, the norm in Turkey is programmable ATOM ammunition similar to Skynex and the Polish programmable ammunition SAP-35 developed by Pit Radwar and Mesko. All solutions are based on shells filled with explosive material and tungsten pellets, which detonate at a precisely specified distance programmed at the moment of firing.

As a result, a cloud of shrapnel is generated just before the target, effectively destroying it. Thanks to programmable ammunition, the desired effect reserved for dozens of shells can be achieved with a series of a few modern ones. This dramatically increases the ability to combat targets with the same ammunition supply.

The cannons are coupled with a fire control system based on radar and a passive electro-optical head with a thermal imaging sight and laser rangefinder. According to the Turks, the radar detection range is up to 31 miles, and target tracking is possible up to 25 miles. The actual range depends on the radar signature of the targets. In the case of objects made with stealth technology, the mentioned electro-optical head with thermal imaging always remains an option with a shorter range.

It also enables operation in an environment with active anti-radiation missiles guided by emissions generated by air defense radars. The Turks mount the entire system on an amphibious ACV-30 tracked chassis, which is a development of the ACV-15 platform, itself a deep modernization of the renowned M113.

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