The Turkish army has ordered the Turkish Aerospace Industry Corp. (TUSA?) to replace the Israeli-made flight control computer system with domestically produced ones in the first national unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as the Anka (Phoenix).

According to sources who requested to remain anonymous, officials from the General Staff made the move after they discovered that a crashed Anka had an Israeli system in it. The sources told Today’s Zaman that the imported flight computer systems have built-in software which might conflict with new software downloaded into the system, even though the manufacturer did not mean to cause such a breakdown. The conflict poses a threat to the flight safety of the UAVs.

The Ankas have completed many successful test flights, but troubles surrounding the UAVs do not seem to end. Last month an Anka crashed after it lost contact with the ground control center. Performance tests on the Anka began on Sept. 24. The accident occurred three days later during a test session which was being watched by representatives from the General Staff.

The sources said that if the Anka did not crash that day, the tests would have continued in the southeastern province of Batman and the Anka would have started to take an active role in the country’s fight against terrorism. The accident resulted in a postponement of the date when the Anka would start operating, they said, but added that there is no major problem.

TUSA? is continuing with test flights with other prototypes. The sources said: “In these kinds of projects, aircraft might crash. Some delays can be seen; this is normal. But the vital parts must be domestic. It is not right to purchase flight control computer systems from Israel. Once serial production begins, we expressed that we wanted a locally manufactured flight control computer.”

Speaking about the issue, TUSA? officials confirmed that the control computers had been bought from Israel but the software installed in them is domestic. While highlighting that efforts to produce a national flight control system have begun, the officials said they will meet the requests of the General Staff.

The flight control computers resemble boxes, reminiscent of batteries. A more vital issue about these computers is the software installed in them. This software controls the basic flight functions of the aerial vehicle, including the engine, landing gear and fault management mechanism.

Meanwhile, the most recent Defense Industry Implementation Committee (SS?K) meeting, which was attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, highlighted that the engines of Ankas must be replaced with stronger ones. In the next phase of the test flights, the Ankas will be armed.

The UAVs are important in Turkey’s intensified fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has stepped up its terrorist attacks against Turkish security forces, civilians and businesses in southeast Turkey.