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Turkey going ballistic, eyes space-launched vehicle

Special to WorldTribune.com

ANKARA — Turkey has launched a project to develop a space-launched
vehicle (SLV).

Turkish sources said the Defense Industry Executive Board approved the
development of an SLV as well as a satellite-launch center.

Turkey is looking to improve the range of its SOM missile from 300 to 1,500 kilometers.

The sources said the approval by the board, chaired by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, came in wake of a Turkish military requirement for a ballistic missile with a range of 2,500 kilometers.

“The project would provide Turkey with the capability to become a
satellite exporter and the military with the capability to build
intermediate- and long-range missiles,” a source said.

Turkey has been awaiting its first reconnaissance satellite, a project
led by prime contractor EADS Astrium. The sources said the SLV proposal would enable Turkey to eventually launch its own satellites.

On July 17, the board decided to approve the construction of a satellite launch center. The sources said the center would be headed by the Defense Ministry and the state-owned Scientific and Research Council of Turkey, known by its Turkish acronym, Tubitak.

Turkey’s NTV news channel said the center would enhance the nation’s
aerospace and defense industry. In a report on July 24, NTV said Turkey
sought cooperation with an undisclosed Eastern European country that would
provide Ankara with the capability to assemble an intercontinental ballistic
missile.

The sources said the ICBM project was quietly begun more than a year ago
as a feasibility study financed by the Defense Ministry and Tubitak. The
board did not announce the SLV project after its latest meeting, meant to
discuss ballistic missile defense and naval corvette production.

Tubitak has also been contracted to develop an enhanced cruise missile.
The agency was assigned to extend the range of Turkey’s current SOM missile
from 300 to at least 1,500 kilometers.

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