The Turkish 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 toward the sea.
“The national guided-missile ATMACA was fired for the first time from land at a target in the sea using the mobile guided missile system. The test-firing carried out today in the Black Sea was successful.”
Turkish Ministry of Defence
Unlike the ship-based version, the missile was equipped with an imaging infrared seeker (IIR), Roketsan’s director-general told domestic defence media in March 2022. Officials didn’t disclose information about the missile’s IIR seeker in this test fire, but the screenshot below shows the difference in radome parts.
Roketsan has unveiled “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 defence exhibition which was held in Istanbul in August 2021. The test-firing of coast-based Atmaca is considered by Turkish authorities as the first step in the development of KARA ATMACA.
About ATMACA missile
ATMACA (means Hawk) is an all-weather, long range, precision strike, anti-ship cruise missile developed by Turkish missile manufacturer ROKETSAN. The Atmaca will replace Turkey’s existing inventory of Harpoon missiles gradually. The program began in 2009 to meet surface-to-surface cruise missile requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces. The prime contractor, Roketsan, started the design studies in September 2012.
The first ship-launched test was conducted by TCG Kinaliada on 03 November 2019. After several test firings in different scenarios, including GPS-free firing and operating in a tense electronic warfare environment, the missile passed all the tests and became ready for mass production. The missile passed the final tests in June 2021 and achieved IOC.
The missile features its global positioning system (GPS), inertial navigation system, barometric altimeter, and radar altimeter to navigate towards its target, while its active radar seeker pinpoints the target with high precision. Its data link provides ATMACA with 3D mission planning, updating targets, reattacking, and terminating the mission. The missile is super sea-skimming as it approaches the target.
Atmaca technical data
- Length: 4,800 – 5,200 mm
- Weight: < 800 kg
- Range: > 220 km (KARA ATMACA will have a range of +280 km)
- Guidance: Inertial Navigation System + Global Positioning System + Barometric Altimeter + Radar Altimeter
- Warhead Type: High Explosive with Penetration
- Warhead Weight: 250 kg
- Seeker: Active RF (ship-launched), IIR (land-launched)
As we witnessed the importance of the land-based anti-ship missiles during the Russo-Ukrainian war, Turkiye’s test-firing of Atmaca’s land-based variant is a significant move to consolidate its A2/AD (Anti Access/Area Denial) in the surrounding seas, especially in the Aegean Sea.
Due to the structure of the Aegean Sea, which consists of thousands of islands and reefs of different sizes, the performance of RF-guided missiles is reduced and they cannot hit the targets around the islands. Therefore, IIR-guided missiles, which can engage ships even near reefs/islands thanks to their image processing function, are perfect for the coastal seas.
The cooperation of the land-based missile batteries with drones patrolling over the sea will provide efficient and precise engagement capabilities for the Turkish Navy, which has been using combat drones for several years, including TB2 Bayraktar, Anka, and Aksungur.