The F-16 Fired SOM-J, Aksungur, and Akıncı UCAV will be the Next Users
The test was originally intended for September 2021 against a naval target. However, it was later delayed to October due to weather conditions.
The development work of the 5th Generation SOM-J Missile, which is designed to be used for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), started in 2014 under the F-35 JSF Compatible Precision Guided Intelligent Missile Design, Development and Prototype Production Project Contract. This missile can also be used against critical land targets.
Although Turkey was expelled from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in July 2019, the SOM-J Project did not stop and work continued with the aim of conducting the first fire test from a TurAF F-16 by the end of 2021.
It was announced that the SOM-J Missile was planned to be integrated into TUSAŞ product AKSUNGUR and BAYKAR product AKINCI UAVs. It was also stated that the integration studies on AKINCI TİHA were started in the first half of 2021. However, the data link between the UAV and the missile needs to be supplied either from abroad or wait for the Kemend project under the current conditions. Once that milestone is passed, it may be possible to fire cruise missiles from UAV. In this case, Turkey will open a new page in the concept world with the air-launched cruise missile fired from UAV to the surface.