TÜBİTAK SAGE & Roketsan
Could it be true that Türkiye recently decided not to sell SOM-J to America, and would even quantify it as a Turkish Embargo Against America?
Reportedly, Türkiye will soon announce, if it did not already, that SOM-J will not be available for export either. The Turkish Air Force will be the sole client.
TÜBİTAK SAGE developed SOM-J. Roketsan is manufacturing it. It is a SOM series cruise missile, originally developed for F-35s.
Why Would There Be
Turkish Embargo Against America
In Wash DC, US Senators, Republican and Democrat alike, believe they are smarter than everyone else. To show how good they are, they passed CAATSA-231 against Türkiye in 2020. Despite the 45th president’s advice, they were adamant to sanction the staunch NATO ally with an embargo. As a result, they prevented the sale of F-35s, the fifth generation fighter planes to Türkiye.
Two years later in 2022, what could be more natural than Türkiye would not return the favor to America?
Recently, Türkiye announced that indigenously developed fifth generation aircraft (TFX) will come out of hangar with a roaring engine on 18 March 2023. Simultaneous reports also explained how the Turkish Bayraktar Akıncı drone will also be equipped with the very SOM-J alongside TFX.
As a result, it is reasonable to assume that Türkiye would bring export restrictions on SOM-J. If it is not tit for tat, there must also be socio-economic or politico-military reasons. Consequently, the Turkish Air Force would be enjoying this one of a kind cruise missile, exclusively, on two military platforms and have an edge.
The SOM is a next-generation autonomous, stealth, high precision cruise missile, solely owned by Turkish state enterprises. It has, indigenously researched and developed, superior technology, and now it is also mass manufactured. If Türkiye were to put export restrictions, as reported, the countries with F-35s will have to settle for the second best alternatives in the marketplace.
This presents more than one problem.
Obviously, SOM-J is a state of the art version of the latest generation of cruise missiles, solely controlled by Türkiye. Not having it on American fighters, or for that matter NATO allies, would be a deficiency. But what if Türkiye decides to supply it to third countries in due process? Considering US Senators have a habit of stepping on the toes of allies!
The other problem with SOM-J is the fact that it is full of mysteries. First of all, no one knows the range beyond the officially declared 280km. Yet, independent reports indicate that there may be a lot more to SOM-J than range. The head of theTurkish Defense Industries Ismail Demir, for example, stated on more than one occasion a couple simple and general facts.
Apparently, the military platforms built by Turkiye emphasize some core principles like having technologies that make them see without being seen or strike first without being stroked down. In that regard, it is natural to assume SOM-J may already have these qualities. Otherwise, why would there be export restrictions?
As if SOM-J is not enough of a problem alone, there is yet another nuissance emanating from the CAATSA-231 sanction against Türkiye. For example, Turkish TFX has a great potential to become a better aircraft than the F-35 now that Turkiye has no option but to work on that diligently. It is a fact that Türkiye has been indigenously developing some of the key components of the F-35 exclusively. Hence, it has the know-how to carry them over to TFX, but also to improve them even further.
On top of that, the deadly effect of SOM-J is exacerbated. Now that it will be available on two one-of-a-kind military platforms present doubl problem. The new generation Turkish drone carries ten times more payloads than the currently formidable TB-2. It will also have the capacity to launch a SOM-J from 40 thousand feet. In other words, the Bayraktar Akıncı drone will carry more than 1.5 ton payload and stay in the air more than a day. It will simply wait for the right time to strike.
Plus, since no one knows the range of the drone, coupled with suspected longer range of SOM-J, it could easily strike halfway around the planet. It will be with precision and stealth, no less. In July 2022, seven of them fully loaded, including with SOM-J, were on a display on a military tarmac in Istanbul. If ten times smaller and less sophisticated TB-2 can do what it does in Ukraine against Russia, no one can predict what Akıncı would do, when, where, how, and why. No one will know, would it?
Turkish Embargo Against America
In 2022 and 2024, will voters in America question their US senators regarding their vote on CAATSA-231 against Türkiye in 2020? More importantly, should they?
I suggested in my book “GameChanger Trump Card: Turkey & Erdogan,” in 2020, that America has no option but to cooperate with Türkiye.
Two years into this mess that the US Senators have created, my earlier question demands an answer: What were these US Senators thinking in the first place?