Turkey may have used NATO-compatible Boeing Peace Eagle AEW&C which Turkey has received in 2015 to shoot down two Russian-made Su-24 fighter jets of the Syrian Air Force reports Turkish media hurriyetdailynews.
The aircraft uses the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar. The L band (1 to 2 GHz) electronically scanned AEW and surveillance radar is located on a dorsal fin on top of the fuselage, dubbed the “top hat”, and is designed for minimal aerodynamic effect. The Peace Eagle can track targets over 600km (Look-up mode).
Turkey was able to bypass Russian closure of the airspace over Northern Syria by using the sophisticated air attack system which it set up as part of its NATO partnership to ensure compatibility.
An interview published by hurriyetdailynews quoting Sinan Ülgen, the director of Turkish the Center for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), “The targets were most probably acquired by a Boeing 737 Airborne Early Warning & Intelligence (AEW&I) Plane. Turkey has four of these planes. Info was then communicated to the F16 – which had its own radars turned off to avoid detection – by a NATO compatible Datalink. It was then forwarded in real time to the air-to-air missile AIM 120.”
According to Ülgen who said in comments quoted in hurriyetdailynews, Turkey was able to use the different layers of its NATO compatible architecture to overcome Russian and Syrian air defence systems. The attack was highly dependent on NATO’s interoperable architecture that is able to project force across borders.
The data gathered by Boeing Peace Eagle are typically pertinent to the electronics of an opponent’s defense network, especially the electronic parts such as radars, surface-to-air missile systems, aircraft. The Electeonic Signals Intelligence (ELINT) can be used to detect ships and aircraft by their radar and other electromagnetic radiation such as a fighter jet’s radar emitting electronic pulses. The Boeing Peace Eagle can acquire information airborne, shipboard and ground based threats then transmit the information to airborne fighter aircraft and air-to-air missile to be used to shot down enemy aircraft.
Syria has no early warning aircraft and relies on air defence systems such as the Pantsir-S for close-in air defence and the S-300s for distance target acquisition. Having an AEW&I can be major game changer in battle as it can track an enemy aircraft from the moment it takes off from an airfield and relay its speed, altitude and direction.
Turkey also has electronic attack aircraft which may have been deployed to cripple the Su-24’s antiquated communication systems.
Boeing delivered the Peace Eagle Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Turkish Air Force at Konya Air Base in 2015, completing the Turkish AEW&C fleet and enhancing Turkey’s airspace surveillance and battle management capabilities.
Boeing worked with Turkish industry partners Turkish Aerospace Industries, Turkish Airlines, HAVELSAN and ASELSAN to complete the delivery of the final aircraft as well as establish technology capabilities like the Software Support Center, updated mission simulator software and mission support center software.
Turkey, Australia and South Korea operate the Peace Eagle AEW&C platforms.
Based on Boeing’s 737-700 commercial airplane, the 737 AEW&C aircraft’s advanced Electronically Scanned Array radar and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously. The battle management capabilities allow mission crew to direct offensive and defensive forces while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area.
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