Turkey’s defense minister last week reviewed a test launch of the county’s Hisar-O medium-altitude air defense missile, it was revealed Thursday.
According to a Defense Ministry statement, in Aksaray, central Turkey on Dec. 3, Fikri Isik witnessed a test launch of the Hisar-O, a missile produced in Turkey under a project to meet the Turkish Land Forces Command’s air defense needs.
“We have many systems developed with the Roketsan and Havelsan corporations. Now there is an intense effort to go to more advanced systems. Today we did the test launch of the Hisar system,” Isik told engineers of the project afterwards.
“We were really happy and proud of it,” he added.
Hisar missiles are defense weapons developed by Roketsan and Aselsan – leading Turkish defense firms – to protect military bases, ports, facilities, and troops against air-based threats.
“Their targets are military aircraft, attack helicopters, navigation missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles, with a maximum range of 25 kilometers,” says Roketsan’s website.
“Turkey has to achieve and develop critical technologies in both air and missile defense systems. Turkey has actually made considerable progress despite its late start. I believe that after that we will get faster,” Isik stated.
He added that Turkey’s long-range air and missile defense systems could act as a deterrent force in the region.
“No country could look hostilely at us if we have our own strong defense systems,” he added.
Hisar's radar, command control, and fire control systems were developed by Aselsan and its missile systems – which will respond to the low- and medium-altitude air defense requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces – were developed by Roketsan.
The Hisar-O’s first unarmed test was in 2014 in Aksaray.
T Hisar-A – a low-attitude version of the defense system – was initiated in 2011 and is expected to be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces by 2020.
Turkey's air defense security is a subject of current interest as its military units entered Syria in late August without forceful ground-to-air defense systems.
Operation Euphrates Shield began on Aug. 24 to rid Syria's northern border area of terrorists.
Turkey is actively using pedestal-mounted stinger systems, known as Atilgan and Zipkin, with a maximum range of 8 km, and using Stinger missiles for very short-range air defense, targeting low-attitude air vehicles.
On Nov. 24, three Turkish soldiers were martyred and 10 wounded in an air attack near Al-Bab, Syria allegedly carried out by Syrian regime forces.
*Ilker Girit in Istanbul contributed to this story.