When asked in which field Turkey’s most prominent steps have taken place in the world in the last 10 years, the defense industry comes to mind first. It is possible to talk about unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligent munitions, national solutions for land, air and sea elements, electronic warfare capabilities and countless projects.
The defense industry is such an area that even a short rest can cause you to miss the next years. Here is the “What’s next?” after the great successes in Turkey recently. This fear lies at the root of the question. It is the common reservation of most of us to be content with what is available and not be able to do such good works in the defense industry in the near future. Fortunately, the existing studies in the field are of the kind that will remove our reservations.
What does Smart Weapon Network mean
TÜBİTAK SAGE Institute Director Gürcan Okumuş talked about the ‘Smart Weapon Network’ project for the first time in an online digital event recently. We talked to Defense Industry Researcher Kadir Doğan to learn the details of this project and understand what it means for Turkey.
According to the information given by Doğan, we learn that the project was carried out by TÜBİTAK SAGE with its own capabilities, which is extremely valuable in terms of showing the point the institution has reached.
Doğan, who we want to explain the system called Smart Weapon Network in its simplest form, says, “It is a structure that allows ammunition and platforms that direct the ammunition to talk to each other, communicate and give directions to each other.”
Extremely popular topic around the world
Nowadays, it is a very popular topic in the world to make munitions smart and control them with various data links.
It is very important for the future of the war zone to direct different ammunition with various structures with this type of nets. Kadir Doğan also emphasizes this fact and underlines that in the future the battlefield will have a network-centered structure and unmanned systems will play an important role in this structure.
Different munitions will speak the same language
With the Smart Weapon Network, it is possible to make various ammunition and platforms, each of which has a different language, speak the same language in synchronization with each other. So what’s the benefit of this?
“In this way, you both have a much more flexible decision-making structure, and you can make decisions much faster. In addition, the accuracy rate of the decisions you make is at a much higher level compared to today,” Doğan summarizes the situation as follows:
“A person needs as much data as possible, different sources, in order to make an accurate and fast decision. If this data can be transmitted to that person quickly and flexibly, the decision-making process will be accelerated and a significant flexibility will be provided. In fact, with these network structures, you give machines this capability. This system we are talking about is a capability that will radically affect the battlefield in the future.”
Where can the Smart Weapon Net be used
After what Kadir Doğan told us, we naturally ask the question of where this system can be used. Doğan thinks that the question “What will change when it is used?” is more critical than the question “Where will it be used?”:
“The process of developing such a smart weapon network undoubtedly has several stages, and the widespread use of this network structure is a long and arduous process. With the development of this network structure and its integrated use with other network structures, we will have a very flexible structure where different platforms can use different ammunition.
For example, a SOM cruise missile released from an F-16 can be directed to a different target by updating its target by an airborne SİHA on its way to its target. Or the mission may be cancelled.”
Turkey can “change the game” once again
From what Doğan tells us, we understand that almost all ammunition to be fired from land, air and sea elements can be controlled and coordinated by very different platforms. He confirms that we understood correctly and said, “At the same time, it will be possible to control the ammunition dropped from different platforms in the air from a single point with the help of various communication networks. “This is a very serious and game-changing capability in warfare.”
Doğan gives interesting information at this point and explains what kind of transformation the system will bring and what kind of effect this transformation will have:
“Today, UAVs do not have high payload capacities due to their technical capabilities. That’s why they have a hard time carrying high-impact, larger ammunition. However, thanks to this network structure, it will no longer matter what ammunition the UAV carries. The UAV will be able to take control of any ammunition that will be released from different platforms. All UAVs, whether armed or unarmed, within the Intelligent Weapon Network structure will be able to act as an armed UAV. This is a capability that will truly be a game changer in the field of warfare.”
“This is a mentality revolution”
It is no secret that Turkey is now closely following the changes in this field. But every close follow-up doesn’t mean you’ll get on that train. We convey our similar reservation to Kadir Doğan for the Smart Weapon Network.
“In fact, even trying to have this capability shows that Turkey has surpassed some issues in some areas,” Doğan says.
“In Turkey, we see that TÜBİTAK SAGE and ROKETSAN, in particular, are doing very successful work in making ammunition smart and integrating various guidance methods into munitions.
Due to these successful works, Turkey has now crossed an important threshold in the field of ammunition. Compared to the past, it has closed the gap with its various rivals in the world and is now turning to the technologies of the future and approaches that will radically change the field of warfare.
With the acquisition of this capability, we will see that the engagement distances of all our aircraft, especially UAVs, will increase, that is, they will be able to destroy targets without having to approach the targets or by bringing less risky, more cost-effective vehicles closer and with more flexible engagement capability.
A scenario where ammunition dropped from our platforms such as TB-2, ANKA, AKINCI, and AKSUNGUR can be directed from much smaller and relatively sacrificable UAVs will take Turkey to a very different point operationally.”
Are there any examples in the world
Kadir Doğan, who shared important information about how the system works and what it can bring to Turkey, also explained the current situation in the field around the world. According to the information given by Doğan, there are studies in some countries, especially in the USA.
Underlining that the studies can be carried out by a very limited number of countries, Doğan said, “One of these countries is Turkey. Starting to invest in the technologies we mentioned so early will put Turkey in a very advantageous position in the field of warfare in the future. Let’s share the good news that the system is not just on paper and that TÜBİTAK SAGE has started to integrate Intelligent Weapon Network terminals into all weapon systems it is developing. In this way, the Turkish Armed Forces will gain a significant advantage by using their smart weapon systems with full capability in the warfare conditions of the future.”