On July 2, 2022, the Turkish missile manufacturer Roketsan test fired the land-based variant of the Atmaca anti-ship missile against a sea target in the Black Sea. This was the first ever test of the land-based version of the missile.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry and Roketsan announced the test on social media with footage showing the launch from the truck. According to the video, an 8×8 truck (probably a Russian-made Kamaz truck) was loaded with four missile canisters and fired a missile at sea.
“The national guided missile ATMACA was launched for the first time with the mobile missile system from land at a target in the sea. The test firing conducted today in the Black Sea was successful.”
Turkish Ministry of Defence
Unlike the ship-based version, the missile was equipped with an infrared (IIR) imaging seeker, Roketsan’s director-general told domestic defense media in March 2022. Screenshot below shows difference in radome parts.
Roketsan revealed”KARA ATMACA‘, the land-to-land variant of Atmaca, which will have an IIR seeker and a longer range than the current variant, at the IDEF 2021 Defense Fair held in Istanbul in August 2021. Atmaca will be the first to be presented by the Turkish authorities step in the development of KARA ATMACA.
About ATMACA missiles
ATMACA (meaning Hawk) is a long-range, all-weather, precision-strike anti-ship cruise missile developed by Turkish missile manufacturer ROKETSAN. The Atmaca will gradually replace Turkey’s existing inventory of Harpoon missiles. The program began in 2009 to meet the needs of the Turkish Naval Forces for surface-to-surface cruise missiles. The prime contractor, Roketsan, began design studies in September 2012.
The first ship-based test was conducted by TCG Kinaliada on November 3, 2019. After several test firings in various scenarios, including GPS-free firing and operation in a tense electronic warfare environment, the missile passed all tests and became ready for mass production. The missile passed the final tests in June 2021 and reached IOC.
The missile uses a global positioning system (GPS), inertial navigation system, barometric altimeter, and radar altimeter to navigate to its target, while its active radar seeker locates the target with high precision. Its data link provides ATMACA with 3D mission planning, target updates, re-attack and mission completion. The missile glides super over the sea as it approaches the target.
Specifications from Atmaca
- Length: 4,800 – 5,200 mm
- Range: > 220 km (KARA ATMACA will have a range of +280 km)
- Instructions: Inertial Navigation System + Global Positioning System + Barometric Altimeter + Radar Altimeter
- Warhead Type: High explosive with penetrating power
- Warhead weight: 250 kg
- Seeker: Active RF (Ship Launched), IIR (Land Launched)
Having witnessed the importance of land-based anti-ship missiles during the Russo-Ukrainian war, Turkiye’s test firing of the land-based variant of Atmaca is a significant step towards consolidating its A2/AD (Anti Access/Area Denial) in the surrounding seas, particularly the Aegean.
Due to the structure of the Aegean, which consists of thousands of islands and reefs of various sizes, the performance of HF guided missiles is reduced and they cannot hit the targets around the islands. IIR guided missiles are therefore perfect for coastal seas, which, thanks to their image processing function, can also attack ships in the vicinity of reefs/islands.
Cooperation of land-based missile batteries with drones The sea patrol will provide efficient and accurate operational capabilities for the Turkish Navy, which has been using combat drones including TB2 Bayraktar, Anka and Aksungur for several years.