Within the scope of the project, SDT supplied four prototype pods to the Air Force. Since 2019, pods have been employed in several pieces of training, particularly the Anatolian Eagle. The Jordanian Air Force has also put this pod through its paces in F-16s. SDT General Manager Ömer Korkut informed Anadolu News Agency about the latest advancements in the serial manufacture of the pod. “We have been waiting for the serial manufacturing of this project, whose warranty is about to expire,” Korkut explained. The decision was taken not long ago. Within the framework of the project, we will provide 60 pods to our Armed Forces, which we have renamed the F-16 Ammunition Training Pod (F-16 MEP). SDT will be the primary contractor, with TUSAŞ serving as a subcontractor.”
Korkut stated that the range of pod at air-to-air missions is approximately 180 kilometres and the air-to-ground range is over 360 kilometres.
Korkut indicated that the pod’s range in air-to-air operations is around 180 kilometres. In comparison, the range in air-to-ground missions is more than 360 kilometres. “These planes can see each other when they take off through a data link information flying,” Korkut explained, “but the ground station can watch all of the planes’ actions at the same time.” It monitors the manoeuvres of the planes and the arrangement and weapon engagements of the planes, and the system directly automatically monitors the results of these engagements as Real-Time Kill Notifications (RTKN).
As a result, this pod is extremely significant in the training of our Air Force’s pilots. It assists the pilot in training and the development of the doctrines of new weapons. While all this is happening in the air, it is connected to the aircraft with an umbilical cord; it can get information from its navigation systems. Since it has INS or GPS, it can also create its own location information and use it. This is entirely optional. At the same time, the entire training is monitored in the command centre. All “dos” and “don’ts” are recorded simultaneously, and an evaluation is made after the training. Our Air Force is provided with the opportunity to do it.”
Ömer Korkut stated that thanks to these pods, the manoeuvring and engagement skills of the pilots would be improved, and new weapons would be used effectively.
Stressing that the integration of pods into different aircraft is also possible, Korkut pointed out that using a product by the country’s armed forces where it is produced is an important criterion, especially for export.
Korkut also made the following assessment regarding the export of the F-16 MEP: “This serial production project was a project that paved the way for the F-16 MEP. In this way, the interest from abroad increased even more. We know that this project has increased interest in the product and created an opportunity to discuss their export potential. Some of the friendly and allied countries also use aircraft of different origins, such as F-16s. We are currently meeting with some countries to discuss the integration of pods into their aircraft. “
SDT is a privately owned Turkish company that has been developing indigenous software, hardware and integrated solutions for Defence, Space and Aviation areas since February 2005.