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Turkey develops sanction-busting system to secure naval helicopters

6th February 2023 - 12:00 GMT | by Tayfun Özberk in Istanbul


The HYTS will replace the Canadian ASIST system aboard Turkish naval vessels and will undergo sea trials this year. (Photo: SSB)

A newly developed system for securing and transferring helicopters on the flight decks of Turkish I-class frigates is being rolled out to replace the Canadian-supplied ASIST equipment.

Ismail Demir, head of the Turkish Defence Agency (SSB), announced the indigenous development of a Helicopter Securing and Transferring System (HYTS/Helikopter Yakalama ve Transfer Sistemi) on 30 January.

The Turkish Navy's OHP frigates, Barbaros-class frigates and MILGEM corvettes use the Canadian-made ASIST (Aircraft Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse) system, but due to sanctions, the service has had difficulty obtaining spare parts. 

HYTS is intended to be installed on new Turkish naval vessels, such as I-class frigates and Hisar-class OPVs, and will eventually replace ASIST, which is used to secure and transfer S-70B naval helicopters.

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'The [HYTS], which was subject to an embargo when purchased from abroad [Canada], was developed with domestic facilities for the first time. The system will enable the helicopters to safely land on the ship, stabilise and be towed to the hangar.' Demir said.

He also noted that the system, which will enter service this year aboard the frigate TCG Istanbul 'will also take its place in new ships to be added to the inventory, and will increase our indigenisation rate in national ships'.

Turkish companies STM and Altinay have been developing HYTS under a contract signed in May 2021. It was completed and delivered in 1.5 years by the contractors. 

Following technical studies and design work, production began in March 2022. In September, the system was tested for the first time, and factory acceptances were completed in December.

The system is now ready for delivery and integration with the ship, after which port acceptance tests will be conducted in March, followed by sea trials with helicopters in September.

The Turkish Navy's need for naval helicopters grows as its surface combatant fleet expands. Turkish frigates and corvettes carry S-70B Sea Hawk helicopters ASW and ASuW, as well as AB 212s for general duties. 

The need for naval helicopters will grow as the TCG Anadolu landing helicopter dock, I-class frigates, and Hisar-class OPVs enter service, but new procurement of S-70Bs does not seem possible due to sanctions.

The Turkish Navy planned to deploy a navalised variant of the T129 ATAK aboard Anadolu, but the Turkish Naval Aviation Command inducted ten AH-1W helicopters from the Land Forces Command as an interim solution due to T129 development delays. 

Use of the T-626 Gökbey general purpose helicopter aboard naval vessels is being discussed in Turkey, but officials have not revealed any plans to develop a marinised variant of this indigenous design.

Tayfun Özberk


Tayfun Özberk

Tayfun Ozberk is a former naval officer who is an expert in surface warfare, particularly …

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