By Paolo Valpolini
At IDEF 2021 the Roketsan stand was full of premières, one of them being the Levent, a new missile system aimed at providing the Turkish Navy with a close-in-weapon system capable to defeat various types of threats and to be embarked on light vessels, such as the Turkish-Type Fast Attack Craft (FAC), which two-years development contract was signed in August 2020, delivery of the first-of-class being scheduled 30 months after completion of the design phase.
The one-third model of the Levent launcher, which can host 21 missiles, was exhibited nearby the Sungur turret installed on a BMC Kirpi 4×4 vehicle, this latter system being in the very last phase of qualification. With an 8 km maximum range and a 4 km maximum altitude, the Sungur is a lock-on-before-launch missile fitted with an Imaging Infra-Red seeker. Powered by a two-stage solid propellant rocket motor, it is fitted with an HE partial piercing warhead and can destroy targets at a minimum distance of 500 meters.
The automatic target tracking has a ±40° field of view, which allows good coverage in order to acquire the target and lock the missile IIR seeker before it is launched. The Sungur will be integrated with the HERIKKS-VI (Hava savunma ERken İkaz ve Komuta Kontrol Sistemi) air defence early warning command and control system developed by Aselsan and in use by the Turkish Land Forces.
The Sungur will be deployed by Land Forces, but its use is not limited to GBAD, Roketsan envisaging also to use it from on board UAVs, as well as for naval purposes.
To this end, the Sungur could be seen fitted into the model launcher of the Levent, which will therefore be capable to use two different missiles, depending on the type of target and on the intercept range, the 8 km Sungur and the new Levent missile, which is still in the concept design phase, according to Roketsan officials. It will definitely be a bigger missile than the Sungur, will work at high supersonic speed, and will have a greater range and a wider envelop, however no more data were delivered due to the early state of development. According to released information Levent will feature manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic modes, and will be able to operate autonomously or in integration with the vessel’s sensor systems. The missile will leverage the R&D work carried out in seeker heads, RF sensors, proximity sensors, etc, and will include many subsystems developed in earlier air defence projects.
Photos courtesy Roketsan and P. Valpolini