Turkey has developed a new radar system for its US-made F-16 fighter jets that will allow them to fire at Israeli targets, Ankara's Star Gazete reported on Tuesday. The orders to modify the system reportedly came directly from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office.
The new radar system – Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) – is a defensive command and control system developed by Turkey's Military Electronics Industry (ASELSAN) for the nation's air force and navy. It is slated to replace a similar US version which is in use today.
The US system is comprised of lists of "friends" and "foes." The system's settings are designed to prevent pilot error as well, to an extent, disabling the ability to fire at "friendly" targets even by mistake. The US system identified Israel as a 'friend,' thus preventing Turkish fighter jets from firing at them automatically.
The new system, however, allows Turkey control the "friend or foe" list independently.
The Turkish IFF system is scheduled to be mounted on all Turkish fighter jets, military vessels and submarines in the near future.
The move, whose timing coincides with a prolonged period of unprecedented diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Jerusalem, has received extensive media coverage in Iran, as well.
According to foreign media sources, the IAF has a fleet of 1,964 aircraft, including 689 advanced assault helicopters and F-15 and F-16 fighter jets.
Israel's aerial superiority will soon receive a significant boost, in the form of the US-made F-35 fighter jet.
The Turkish Air Force is said to have a fleet of "just" 1,940 aircrafts, including F-16s and F-4 Phantoms, as well as 874 assault helicopters.
Like Israel, Turkey has also been promised the F-35. It is slated to receive it by 2015.