Aselsan to ramp up drone electro-optics output, unveil upgraded versions

Leading Turkish defense contractor Aselsan will increase the production capacity of its high-performance electro-optical reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting system that has been equipping the country’s drones, its general manager said Friday.

The company’s engineers are also working on an upgraded version of the Common Aperture Targeting System (CATS), which Haluk Görgün said will be soon ready for use.

Dubbed the “eye” of the indigenous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), CATS is designed for fixed-wing and rotary-wing airborne platforms, including unmanned air systems (UASs), helicopters and aircraft.

The country’s drones were previously using electro-optic systems purchased from abroad but embargos led local defense industry firms to develop the equipment at home.

Canada had revoked licenses for the military technology exports to Turkey following its counterterrorism offensive in Syria in 2019. Restrictions were later eased but reimposed in 2020 after the drone technology was used by the Azerbaijani military forces during the war in the Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Turkey was fast to develop the imaging and targeting system on its own. Turkey's famed Bayraktar TB2 drone in November the same year conducted a successful test-fire using domestically made ammunition and CATS.

Görgün said the reconnaissance surveillance equipment they developed for UAVs can serve in high altitude and difficult weather conditions.

“A reconnaissance surveillance system that can perform thermal imaging, laser marking and tracking the target day and night. This is only one of our military product family. We are developing this equipment for both rotary-wing systems and fixed-wing unmanned aerial systems. CATS’ success is evident,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The system was put to use in 2020 for the first time and 40 of them have been delivered so far, the official said.

“Our mass production continues. We have reached a level where we can produce six units per month, we are trying to increase this to 10. CATS is a family of products. Our friends are developing advanced versions, and we plan to put them into service in the near future.”

Source: Daily Sabah

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