12/03/2014 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter
State-owned Turkish weapons manufacturer Roketsan has tested a new air-launched anti-tank missile design, with successful results.
The MIZRAK-U test launch involved a Cobra AH-1S attack helicopter and took place over a 3.5 kilometre range. The missile successfully engaged with its designated target, paving the way for further trials and eventual entry-into-service, all being well.
Once in service, the MIZRAK-U missile will equip the Turkish Land Forces' TAI/AgustaWestland T129 attack helicopters, examples of which are currently being delivered.
The TAI/AgustaWestland T129 is based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta helicopter, which first flew in the mid-1980s. Harnessing the preceding design's airframe, it features advanced avionics and weapons systems developed in Turkey, plus more powerful engines and rotor blades. Six examples have been built, with 54 more set to ultimately join the Turkish Land Forces.
The MIZRAK-U missile is designed to strike targets with up to eight kilometres separation. It will be put into full-scale production from 2015 onwards and boasts an infrared seeker, a high-explosive warhead and other features.
Also now in development is a medium-range variant, named MIZRAK-O. This has a range of four kilometres but, otherwise, shares many characteristics.
The Turkish Land Forces has existed in its modern form since July 1949. In recent years, it has employed around 400,000 personnel and participated in numerous conflicts and, for more than two decades, has been continually introducing new military technologies into service.
Turkish Anti-Tank Missile
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters serve with the Turkish Ground Forces in greater numbers than any other rotary platform but it also operates 37 AH-1 SuperCobra and 30 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, of the type used in the Turkish anti-tank missile test.
Roketsan was established in 1988 and produces rockets, missiles, mortars and other weapons. It is also involved in a programme through which Turkey's satellite launch capability will expand. The nation's Space Launch System project will involve the construction of a spaceport, satellite launch vehicles and other satellite operations infrastructure.