The Turkish armed forces will soon add weapons powered by electromagnetic waves to its inventory, thanks to TUBITAK's newly launched hypersonic ammunition.
Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) is at the forefront of fostering scientific and tech-driven culture in the country.
Its research and development institute TUBITAK SAGE also plays a key role in developing high-tech missiles, rockets and ammunition systems to bolster Turkey's defence industry.
TUBITAK recently completed a project, an important milestone in the field of weapon building, when they built ammunition propelled by electromagnetic waves, or in other words, ammunition that does not require the support of gunpowder or chemicals.
The country's first electromagnetic weapon, SAPAN, can fire gunpowder-free bullets using electromagnetic energy. The bullets can reach the target 8-10 times faster than the speed of sound.
SAPAN⚡️Elektromanyetik Fırlatma Sistemi— TÜBİTAK SAGE (@SageTubitak) January 18, 2021
TÜBİTAK SAVTAG destekli teknoloji geliştirme projesi SAPAN:
Mühimmatların elektrik enerjisiyle hızlandırılarak atılması için tasarlanan sistem başarıyla tamamlanmıştır.
☄️Namlu çıkış hızı: 2070 m/s
⚡️Namlu çıkış enerjisi: 1.3 MJ pic.twitter.com/BG7Bxj4IYz
Gurcan Okumus, who works as a manager at TUBITAK SAGE, told TRT World that although SAPAN was successfully launched, it needs "some additional work" before adding it to the "inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces".
"With the electromagnetic launch systems, ammunition can be directed to the target at hypersonic speeds. Next-generation systems of this type will have a huge force multiplier effect for our military when it enters the inventory,” Okumus said.
In an exclusive interview with TRT World, Okumus also said that with the SAPAN project, a great deal of knowledge has been gained in design and testing for missile and ammunition studies that will be proceeded at hypersonic speeds.
“Such systems, with very special electronic design and production, as well as advanced technological materials, raise the level of technology of our country to the highest level in special tests. Moreover, it provides the creation of data sets and testing facilities for defence systems which might be developed against our systems in the future,” Okumus said.
According to Okumus, the electromagnetic launch systems are an important milestone in the transition from chemical-powered systems to electric-powered ones.
“But these are the systems that a limited number of countries in the world are working on and have not yet reached sufficient maturity for widespread use. As it is known, chemical-powered systems cause greater destruction and major environmental and permanent damage with secondary effects after hitting the targets,” Okumus says.
“With these systems, a more secure storage and logistics facility, cheaper costs, and a more effective attack and defence force can be created with a longer range,” he adds.
Apart from the SAPAN project, TUBITAK SAGE has also been working on Ramjet Supersonic missiles, precision-guided smart missiles and missile projects like the SOM which is a next-generation autonomous, low observable, high precision cruise missile.
Since the main goal of this institute is to conduct applied research and technological development, thus contributing to the establishment and development of a national defence industry based on scientific and technological principles at home, it has been a pioneering institution in Turkey that develops several other systems and subsystems that turn into products. This is due to its R&D capability in the fields of missiles, rocket and ammunition in the defence industry.
In this context, explaining the recently developed SAPAN and other projects’ importance, Okumus says TUBITAK SAGE's goal is to continue producing innovative defence technology.
Emphasising its role in the future of Turkey’s defence industry, Okumus says the further achievements in hypersonic systems, artificial intelligence technologies, electromagnetic launch systems, propulsion technologies and advanced navigation solutions, will be the priority of TUBITAK SAGE in the next decade.
“TUBITAK SAGE initiated revolution of the national smart munitions and national missiles in Turkey and has become an example for the entire sector by proving that these systems can be developed by Turkish engineers,” Okumus added.
“For the nationalisation of Turkey’s defence industry, TUBITAK SAGE’s aim is to serve Turkey at the highest level, which is the source of the motivation of our institution.”