STM has achieved another milestone in its indigenisation and nationalisation efforts in the naval platform field.
Türkiye previously intended to procure a Helicopter Securing and Transfer System from Canada for integration aboard the national frigate under construction for the Turkish Naval Forces but launched efforts to indigenise the system two years ago following the imposition of an embargo on Türkiye by the Canadian government.
The “Helicopter Securing and Transfer System Indigenization and Supply” project was initiated in May 2021 upon signing an agreement between STM and Altınay under the coordination of the Defence Industry Agency (SSB). The production activities for the indigenous system were started in March 2022 following the technical and design studies, and the system was operated for the first time in September 2022 and subjected to factory acceptance tests in December 2022. The installation and integration of the Helicopter Securing and Transfer System aboard TCG İSTANBUL (F 515) was completed in April 2023 by STM and ALTINAY Defence, under the coordination of Istanbul Shipyard Command. Representatives from the SSB and Naval Forces Command successfully completed the port acceptance tests of the system.
The “First Operation Readiness Test” of the system was completed in August 2023, and the first deployment test was carried out in September 2023 involving an SH-70 Sea Hawk helicopter of the Turkish Navy, which landed on the ship using the national helicopter securing system. The system successfully detected the location of the SH-70 Sea Hawk helicopter on the platform and automatically tracked it with the Helicopter Haul-down Device. In the critical and final step of the tests, the SH-70 Sea Hawk helicopter approached the ship and successfully landed on the deck, with visual landing support provided by the system. The helicopter was then secured by the system and transferred to the hangar. After completing all acceptance tests, the indigenous system integrated aboard TCG İSTANBUL, the first national frigate constructed under the prime contractor ship of STM, will soon enter the inventory of the Turkish Naval Forces.
Özgür Güleryüz, General Manager of STM, stated that they had reached another milestone on the road to full independence for Türkiye’s defence sector, adding:
“Our strong local ecosystem allowed us to indigenise a critical system that was subject to an embargo and to bring it to the Turkish defence sector. The Helicopter Securing and Transfer System, which we have developed with Altınay Defence, has not only provided us with an important capability, but has also ended our dependence on foreign countries for such systems. We have integrated the first national system, which was made available within a very short time, aboard TCG İSTANBUL. We will now be integrating our national Helicopter Securing and Transfer System aboard the vessels of the Turkish Naval Forces, and under our export projects carried out abroad. I wish to congratulate all our stakeholders and all the STM employees who contributed to the development of this system for their contributions in increasing the localisation rate of our national ships.”
The Helicopter Securing and Transfer System provides support aiding the safe landing of helicopters aboard ships, securing their position, facilitating their transfer from the deck to the hangar, and vice versa, and ensuring a safe take-off. The system features various sub-components, such as cameras and a helicopter-mounted laser system, and can instantly calculate the helicopter’s position through image processing. This estimated data keeps the rapid-capture device in the correct position and controls the pilot position lights that keep the helicopter at the right angle, allowing the pilot to land in a specific area on the helicopter platform. As soon as the helicopter lands on the ship deck, the rapid-capture device engages to instantly capture and secure the helicopter to the deck, which removes the need for personnel to be present in the landing area during a helicopter landing. A single operative from the control point can safely operate the system.