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Medium altitude air defense system, Hisar-O, developed by Turkish defense contractors Roketsan and Aselsan completed its first test launch with 100 percent success in the central province of Aksaray.  According to dailysabah.com, the Hisar-O system is developed for air defense needs to protect military bases, ports, facilities, and troops against air-based threats. Both contractors are owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TSKGV), a semi-autonomous body established to bolster Turkey’s defense industry.

Defense Minister Fikri Işık and Undersecretary of Defense Industry Ismail Demir both attended the event. Işık said that domestically developing such critical systems for Turkey’s defense is the only way to obtain them. “Some countries that we consider as friends have the habit of limiting, enforcing an embargo even when we face the slightest problem. That is why we aim to have all the critical technologies, developing them and becoming one of the few countries that do so. Turkey has made considerable progress despite its late start. I believe that after this, we will get faster” Işık said.

He noted that the goal is to increase Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) deterrent power and that means having effective air and missile defense systems. He praised the engineers who took part in the project and explained that Turkey will make all the contributions to their work.

During the test, a dual-mode propulsion rocket engine was used for the first time.  Hisar-O successfully left the rocket launcher developed by Aselsan using its first engine, left the rocket canister, continued cruising through the air with programmed maneuvers, and ignited its second engine, finishing the test with success.

Tests on the low-altitude version of the Hisar project, the Hisar-A, were completed in 2013. A high-altitude and long-range air and missile defense system is yet to be developed, and officials point to 2020 as the year when such a system could be introduced.

The need for an air and missile system for Turkey increased after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, as the country possessed a significant chemical weapons stockpile along with hundreds of Soviet Union, North Korea, and Iran-made rocket launchers, the most renowned of which being the Scud missiles. As a member of NATO and an ally of the United States, Turkey also faced similar threats during 1990 Gulf War and U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as Iraq possessed similar systems as Syria.