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Air-Launched Tactical Decoy Targets and TAI Supersonic UAV Project

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Air-Launched Tactical Decoy Targets and TAI Supersonic UAV Project

Ibrahim Sunnetci

At DEFENCE TURKEY Magazine…​

Published Mar 24, 2022

In a possible air attack, one of the most important capabilities of the Turkish Air Force aircraft, which may or may not be, is the Air-Launched Decoy Missile. In fact, airborne tactical decoy targets, whose history goes back to the 1970s, play an important role in confusing and suppressing enemy air defense systems.
Air-Launched Tactical Decoy Target (TALD) and Enhanced Air-Launched Tactical Decoy Target (ITALD) missiles developed by the Israel-based IMI Company and offered to Turkey in the early 2000s, both the F-16 and F-4E 2020 It can be used from airplanes. Among the systems in the US Air and Navy inventory, TALD is classified as ADM-141A/B and ITALD ADM-141C. The most striking difference of ITALD from its predecessor is the turbojet engine added for longer range capability and low altitude navigation capability.
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TALD and ITALD munitions, which have been used successfully in air operations in the past period, are high-tech advanced decoy missiles, and they can give the appearance of an aircraft on radars thanks to the passive and active radar track amplifiers/reflectors they carry. TALD has a range of 110km (maximum 126km) and can be launched from altitudes up to 40,000ft (12,200m). TALD, which is stated to have been fired more than 100 times during the first night of Operation Desert Storm, can be programmed in advance and is launched to enemy air defense positions before an air attack, deceiving the enemy air defense systems, reducing the casualties of friendly aircraft and allowing them to operate in survivability.
ITALD, which can be carried on an airplane up to a maximum altitude of 50.000ft and Mach 0.9 speed, and which is stated to have a more realistic flight profile compared to its predecessor TALD, has a speed of Mach 0.9 and can be launched from an altitude of 40.000ft. After leaving the aircraft, ITALD can open its wings and continue its flight with 1G maneuverability at 30,000ft altitude and can reach ranges over 300km by activating the turbojet engine (Teledyne CAE Model 312 [J700-CA-400]) when it descends to 15,000ft. According to open sources, ITALD's range is 160nm (296km) when released from an altitude of 20,000ft. When released from low altitude (sea level), the range becomes 100nm (185km). It is stated that thanks to its advanced GPS assisted navigation system, ITALD can fly at an altitude of 500ft.
Technicial Specifications
  • Length: 2.34m
  • Wingspan: 1.55m
  • Weight: 180kg (400lb)
  • Cruising Speed: Mach 0.8 (460km/h, 250 knots)
  • Range: 126km (TALD), 300km+ ADM-141C ITALD
  • Engine: Teledyne CAE J700-CA-400 turbojet, 790N (177lbf on ITALD)
  • Flight Time: 12 minutes at top speed, 20 minutes at cruising speed
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Launched by DARPA in 1995, the Miniature Airborne Decoy (MALD) Program aims to develop a small, low-cost decoy missile for Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) missions. The first member of the MALD Family, the ADM-160A, the development contract for the MALD was signed with Teledyne Ryan Company (acquired by Northrop Grumman in 1999), and the first flight test with the munition was in 1999. ADM-160A MALD carried a Signature Augmentation Subsystem (SAS) consisting of multiple active radar amplifiers covering different frequencies. ) was able to simulate airplanes. However, in 2002, the US Air Force canceled the project after approximately 150 MALD mock target missiles were produced due to the ADM-160A's lack of sufficient range and airtime. The USAF restarted the project in 2002 and signed a new contract with Raytheon in the spring of 2003. Developed by Raytheon, the ADM-160B MALD has a similar configuration to its predecessor, but has a lower RCS value, but a larger body and more weight. ADM-160A is equipped with a Hamilton Sundstrand (now P&W) TJ-50 (220N, 50lbf) Turbojet Engine, due to its weight gain as well as longer range and air retention requirements, while for the ADM-160B it is an improved variant, the TJ-150-1 (670N). , 150lbf) engine has been selected. When Raytheon delivered its first ADM-160B in spring 2009, In 2008, it signed a contract for MALD's RF Jammer variant, the MALD-J (ADM-160C can operate in both decoy and jammer modes). The first MALD-J delivery to the USAF was made on September 6, 2012. Raytheon completed the ground validation tests by integrating MALD and MALD-J to the MQ-9 Reaper SİHA in November 2012. According to open sources, USAF has supplied only the MALD-J version since 2012.
ADM-160A Technical Specifications
  • Length: 2.38m
  • Wingspan: 0.65m
  • Weight: 45kg (100lb)
  • Cruising Speed: Mach 0.8 (460km/h, 250 knots)
  • Ceiling Altitude: 9,000m+ (30,000ft)
  • Range: 460km+ (285 miles)
  • Engine: Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-50 (220N, 50lbf) Turbojet Engine
  • Flight Time: 20min+
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ADM-160B Technical Specifications
  • Length: 2.84m
  • Wingspan: 1.71m
  • Weight: 115kg (250lb)
  • Cruising Speed: Mach 0.91
  • Ceiling Altitude: 12,200m+ (40,000ft)
  • Range: Approximately 920km (575 miles, capable of hovering over target area)
  • Engine: Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 (670N, 150lbf) Turbojet Engine
  • Flight Time: 45min+ (at altitude)
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... GÖKSUNGUR Supersonic UAV and Sneaky UAV

The curtain on GÖKSUNGUR JEMSAH (Jet Engine Fake Target), which has been spoken since 2019, was lifted with a visual on social media after the National Technologies and New Investments Collective Opening and Promotion Ceremony in January 2022. In the image, GÖKSUNGUR JEMSAH was seen next to ANKA-S SİHA located in the parking lot in the open area. GÖKSUNGUR, which has a composite body painted in orange (for easier tracking in flight/shooting tests), drew attention with its very compact body design and underbody engine air intake. Although it was not clearly evident in the photo on the social media, it was understood that GÖKSUNGUR, which I considered to have a slightly longer wingspan than the ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft, but with a lower wing span than that, had an overhead wing (fixed wing structure) design. Powered by Turbojet Engine 2. With a length of 33m, ŞİMŞEK has a wingspan of 1.57m and a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 70kg and a flight time of 45min+. Şimşek had a maximum speed of 740 km/h before, and its maximum payload weight was 10kg and its fuel capacity was 32 liters (8.5 gallons).
Parallel to the development of the Turkish Defense Industry, the Project for the Development of an Airborne False Target with national means was also on the agenda. ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft in TAI's Product Based and Mission Based Development (2015-2035) Roadmaps shared with the public at the 'UAV Roadmap of Turkey with Developing Technologies' panel held on December 25, 2015 with the cooperation of SSB, STM and SETA. There was also an Air Throwable Decoy Target System, which would be an air-launched derivative of the .
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Within the scope of the Jet Engine Decoy Target (JEMSAH) Project, it was envisaged to develop an air-launched Decoy Target with a turbojet engine and Mach 0.5-0.8 speed, based on the achievements of the ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft Project. It was a mystery for a while whether the aforementioned Project was included in the TUSAŞ roadmap after the change of senior management in October 2016. However, during the interview he gave to Güntay ŞİMŞEK in June 2019 during the Paris Aviation Fair 2019 (PAS 2019), TUSAŞ General Manager Temel KOTİL shared the information that TUSAŞ will produce a 'Supersonic UAV' and a project will be completed in 16 months for the Project, which started in April 2019. program announced. ŞİMŞEK, who defined TAI's new Supersonic UAV as a target aircraft project,
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“It has not been named yet. It will primarily be used in the testing and development of air defense systems. He will also serve for the National Combat Aircraft (MMU). It will be able to make arm flight and perform joint operations alongside the MMU. The pilot in MMU will also be able to manage these UAVs around him. The speed of breaking the sound barrier will be 1.4 Mach. In other words, it will be able to fly at a speed of approximately 1,600 km per hour. The supersonic UAV (target aircraft) developed by TAI will have the ability to present itself to rival defense systems as a different aircraft, such as the F-16, F-4. Thus, it will also be used to deceive and confuse the opponent's defense systems during the battle, and to consume their missiles by waking them early and causing them to fire incorrectly. The weight of TAI's newest product, the supersonic UAV, will be under 100kg. However, it will include systems that will make its appearance and definition look like a large aircraft on rival radars. There is no critical threshold that TAI must pass in the Supersonic UAV. It is planned to develop and use the engine in the 'High Speed Target Aircraft System ŞİMŞEK'. In addition, high-speed engine operation will be carried out for future targets.”
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Expressing the latest developments about AKSUNGUR and GÖKSUNGUR Projects in his statement to C4 Defense Magazine at the end of 2019, KOTİL said, “We are working on the Supersonic UAV GÖKSUNGUR. We aim to fly it in a year. Since it is supersonic, our engine will be a turbojet,” he said, pointing to the year 2020 for the first flight. In the news on 19 December 2020, it was pointed out that Turkey's supersonic supersonic unmanned aerial vehicle GÖKSUNGUR will perform its first flight in 2021 and said, “With GÖKSUNGUR, which is planned to be made available to the TAF next year, supersonic speeds will be reached in the air. The supersonic vehicle, which is planned to be used primarily in the testing and development of air defense systems, will also serve for the National Combat Aircraft... GÖKSUNGUR's 15th anniversary, which will be managed by satellite. It is expected to have an altitude of 000 meters or suborbital and an average range of 200km. TUSAŞ General Manager KOTİL said about GÖKSUNGUR in a live broadcast he attended in January 2021, “We are working on GÖKSUNGUR. There is nothing we can share at the moment. We share it after we fly,” he said. In the "What's Happening" program broadcast on CNN Türk on April 25, 2021, KOTİL said about GÖKSUNGUR, "We have made one model at the moment. We connected to ANKA. We will leave him from ANKA. (Before) We threw him out of AKSUNGUR. Supersonic... It will be a UAV system with supersonic cruise speed that can be launched from AKSUNGUR SİHA.” In the program, KOTİL also said about the ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft, “ŞİMŞEK is a target aircraft but also a kamikaze aircraft. We make 100 of these a year. It has 5kg of explosives on it. It goes about 100-200km. One each wears under AKSUNGUR's wings. We leave it in the air from AKSUNGUR, it goes 200 km and hits its target. It is currently being mass-produced,” he said.
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Defense Industry President İsmail DEMİR announced on his social media account on October 24, 2021 that the TUSAŞ product ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft was successfully used against a surface target and said, “Our target aircraft ŞİMŞEK, tired of being hit, has now decided to strike! ŞİMŞEK has become a GPS-guided autonomous missile that hits targets at long distances,” he wrote. According to the information shared at the IDEF '21 Fair, ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft has a wingspan of 1.57 meters and a length of 2.33 meters and a maximum take-off weight of 70 kg. Powered by a TEI product TJ90 Turbojet Engine and a foreign-sourced turbojet engine, ŞİMŞEK can reach a speed of 350+ knots (kts) at sea level and can operate at altitudes of 50ft-20,000ft. ŞİMŞEK, whose airtime is given as 45+ minutes, has a range of 70+km in the line of sight. In the information shared about the ŞİMŞEK in 2012, when the first flight was made, the wingspan was 1.5m, the length was 2.3m, the maximum take-off weight was 75kg, the maximum useful load capacity was 10kg, the fuel capacity was 32lt and the airtime was 1 hour. During the Claw 2013 Genuine Ammunition Shootings performed by HvKK in 2013, the range information was written as 100 km on the information board in front of the ŞİMŞEK exhibited at the TAI stand.
On the other hand, TUSAŞ Deputy General Manager for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Ömer YILDIZ, who answered the questions of İsmail Umut ARABACI in the "Defence Line" Program broadcast on TVNET on January 30, 2022, announced that they are working on the supersonic version of the ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft. YILDIZ said, “ŞİMŞEK is our fastest product among our original products. We have now increased its speed up to 450 knots. But we are also preparing a supersonic version of it. With it, we aim to both cross the supersonic speed wall and make a high-speed target aircraft that can fly at Mach 0.8-0.9 speeds. ”
Pointing out that this class of aircraft can be used for several different purposes, YILDIZ said, “One of them is a target aircraft and the other is a fake target. Saying a false target presents itself as something other than what it is. In other words, if you put a special device on ŞİMŞEK, Lightning can show itself as a flying F-4, F-16 or maybe an F-35. We call these types of missions mock planes. If he carries explosives, he gains the ability to go and shoot and destroy the target. Of course, we should not expect them to hit very big targets, but again, at critical moments, it gains the ability to do critical tasks. We call it a kamikaze plane for short. It is possible to perform these three missions with the same aircraft, by simply changing the payload.”
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The Supersonic UAV Project was also included in the book, "Exceeding the Borders", published by TAI in 2022, which conveys the exciting journey of the company's work in the field of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles from past to present, with striking information and visuals, and for the first time both a visual and some technical features are shared. In the book, it is stated that the Supersonic UAV will be launched from ANKA or AKSUNGUR in the first phase, and as stated above, certain thresholds have been exceeded in the studies initiated within this scope. In the second phase, it is aimed to make the Supersonic UAV, which is stated to be controlled during the flight (line of sight) over the common Ground Control Station, which can be used in the book, become multi-purpose and add it to the inventory by gaining the ability to carry interchangeable payloads. The following information about the Supersonic UAV is included in the Book of Crossing the Limits: “The Supersonic UAV, which will be produced as 3 prototypes, will have a turbojet engine and will be able to reach supersonic speeds. Multiple interchangeable payloads will be integrated into this UAV to meet many needs such as Electronic Warfare Support, Electronic Warfare Offensive and deceptive (fake) target. It is planned to start autonomous flight tests of the Supersonic UAV, which was first tested for data collection while attached to ANKA. The Supersonic UAV has a wingspan of 80cm, a length of 270cm, and a speed of Mach ≤1 in the Book of Crossing the Limits. Electronic Warfare Multiple interchangeable payloads will be integrated to meet many needs such as offensive and deceptive (fake) target. It is planned to start autonomous flight tests of the Supersonic UAV, which was first tested for data collection while attached to ANKA. The Supersonic UAV has a wingspan of 80cm, a length of 270cm, and a speed of Mach ≤1 in the Book of Crossing the Limits. Electronic Warfare Multiple interchangeable payloads will be integrated to meet many needs such as offensive and deceptive (fake) target. It is planned to start autonomous flight tests of the Supersonic UAV, which was first tested for data collection while attached to ANKA. The Supersonic UAV has a wingspan of 80cm, a length of 270cm, and a speed of Mach ≤1 in the Book of Crossing the Limits.
Based on this information, also known as “GÖKSUNGUR”, aircraft with a weight of less than 100kg, capable of reaching the maximum Mach ≤1 speed of the Supersonic UAV and a range of 300km+, and having different RCS traces in the HvKK inventory, can be attached to enemy air defense systems (E -7T HİK, KC-135R Stratotanker, F-16 and F-4E 2020 etc.) (for this, there will be a SAS-like hardware on it), can mix enemy air defense systems when necessary (it needs to have RF Jamming hardware for this) and MMU/TF-X, it is possible to define it as a unique air-launched tactical decoy target missile (Jet Engine Decoy Target) that can make arm flight and perform joint operations (it must also have a bidirectional encrypted data link on it).

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Supersonic UAV and Turbojet Engine Need
For the supersonic UAV, I think the critical threshold is the turbojet engine. Although it was previously stated that " The engine in the High Speed Target Aircraft System ŞİMŞEK is planned to be developed and used", the TJ90 engine and the Supersonic UAV's exceeding the speed of sound (supersonic) or TUSAŞ Unmanned Air as pointed out by TUSAŞ General Manager Temel KOTİL. As stated by YILDIZ, Deputy General Manager Responsible for Vehicles, reaching a speed of Mach 0.8-0.9 represents a serious challenge in terms of engineering.
In 2021, a source reported that the Supersonic UAV/GÖKSUNGUR had problems exceeding the speed of sound during the tests, while a short while ago, from another source, JETCAT from Germany for TUSAŞ's ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft, whose production speed increased, after the development process on the TJ90 could not be completed . I got the information that he supplied the engine from his company. It is also possible that the same engine is used on the Supersonic UAV.
According to the product brochure, the Jet-Cat P400 Pro Series engine, similar to the JETCAT Company's TJ90, weighing 3.55kg, can produce a maximum thrust of 397N, while its Specific Fuel Consumption (SFC) value is 0.158kg/Nh at maximum power.
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The TJ90 Turbojet Engine, 135mm in diameter and 413mm in length, with a dry weight of 3.6kg and a total weight of 5.7kg and capable of producing 400N (90lb, at sea level) thrust, was first run test on 30 June 2011, and first flight test on 5 June 2013. . With its Specific Fuel Consumption (SFC) value of 0.15/1.5 (kg/Ns) / (lb/lbf.s), the TJ90 made its first flight on the ŞİMŞEK platform on June 7, 2017. TEI has been working on improving the TJ90's high altitude performance and operating time for a while. TJ90 Turbojet Engine, working with JP-8 fuel and with a maintenance interval of 25 hours, electric start,
TJ90 Turbojet Engine with radial compressor design was developed by TEI and made ready for mass production in 2018. With the order of TAI, TEI realized the serial production of 11 TJ90 engines. These engines have been designed for TUSAŞ's ŞİMŞEK High Speed Target Aircraft to meet the very short life expectancy and have been developed to withstand high G-Forces (at the time of launch with a catapult) by operating on the ground. As a result of TUSAŞ's desire to use the engines in this class for other purposes (such as ŞİMŞEK, attack on land and surface targets/kamikaze UAV) and platforms (such as Supersonic UAV), Other requirements such as longevity and firing at high altitudes (the ability to start well in altitude conditions with the windmilling technique when launched from a high altitude on ANKA SİHA and AKSUNGUR TİHA) have emerged. Some maturation activities were carried out and improvements were made to these engines produced by TEI within the framework of the aforementioned requirements. As a result of these studies, 11 TJ90 engines were delivered in January 2020. TEI continues its efforts to fully adapt to changing customer requirements in a competitive manner.
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According to TAI's Product Based and Mission Based Development (2015-2035) Roadmaps, the next step in the field of electronic jamming/attack capable UAV was the Sneaky UAV System with low radar visibility.


Havadan Atılan Taktik Sahte Hedefler ve TUSAŞ Süpersonik İHA Projesi

 

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