The SOM (Turkish: Satha Atılan Orta Menzilli Mühimmat) is a next-generation autonomous, low observable, high precision cruise missile developed by TÜBİTAK SAGE, Defence Research and Development Institute of Turkey. It was first revealed during the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Turkish Air Force at the Çiğli Air Base in İzmir, on 4 June 2011. Developed since 2006, the SOM is Turkey's first domestic guided missile for striking both stationary and moving targets at a stand-off distance of over 180 kilometers. Although being developed by TÜBİTAK SAGE which still holds authority over the design of the missile, ROKETSAN has been given the role of manufacturing and marketing the missile for export.
|SOM Cruise Missile|
|Type||Air-launched cruise missile |
|Place of origin||Turkey|
|In service||Since 2017|
|Used by||Turkish Air Force|
|Wars||Syrian civil war|
SOM-J is manufactured by TÜBİTAK SAGE and ROKETSAN in Turkey.
|Mass||SOM-A: 620 kilograms (1,367 lb)|
SOM-B1: 620 kilograms (1,367 lb)
SOM-B2: 660 kilograms (1,455 lb)
SOM-J: 500 kilograms (1,102 lb)
|Length||3,657 millimetres (12.0 ft)|
|Warhead||230 kilograms (507 lb)|
SOM-A: High Explosive Blast-Fragmentation Warhead
SOM-B1: High Explosive Blast-Fragmentation Warhead
SOM-B2: Dual Stage Tandem Penetrating Warhead
SOM-J: Semi-Armor Piercing Warhead
|Wingspan||2.6 metres (8.53 ft)|
|SOM-A: 250 km (130 nmi)|
SOM-J: 185 km (100 nmi)
|Flight altitude||Terrain hugging|
|Maximum speed||623 knots (0.94 Mach)|
|INS / GPS|
Terrain Referenced Navigation
Image Based Navigation
Automatic Target Recognition
Imaging Infrared Seeker
|Accuracy||5 metres (16 ft) CEP|
|F-16 Fighting Falcon|
F-4 Phantom II
The SOM stand-off cruise missile is a family of launch and leave precision strike weapons against both land or sea targets. It uses GPS as its primary mode of guidance complemented by an advanced Inertial Navigation System and a radar-based Terrain Referenced Navigation system, allowing the missile to skim the terrain during its flight in order to evade local defence systems. According to the developer, it features advanced geometry and aerodynamics over similar missile systems, as well as lightweight composite components that minimize the radar cross-section of the missile. A terminal stage infrared imager detects the individual target by matching its signature with a pre-loaded database of similar targets allowing for precision strike. It can also be used to provide image-based midcourse navigation by taking snapshots of waypoints and comparing them against predicted position to update the navigation system. Thus, if GPS capability is denied or degraded, the missile can follow its waypoints using infrared based terrain updates. The missile includes a two-way datalink that makes possible to change the task in flight. The basic design of the missile includes a fuselage designed specifically to fit in the internal weapons bays of the Joint Strike Fighter. It is intended to achieve high accuracy in striking military targets like command and control facilities, SAM sites, parked aircraft and surface ships.
According to the TUBITAK-SAGE officials, the initial demonstration flights of the prototypes were completed successfully. The missile made its first guided flight on 9 August 2011 over the Black Sea. Covering more than 100 nautical miles using GPS/INS guidance, the missile successfully hit its target with high accuracy. It was planned to assess the design aspects of the missile by conducting about 30 test flights. The delivery of a first batch of missiles to the Turkish Air Force would take place by the end of 2011, following more complicated live firing tests planned for the rest of the year.
While initially the range of the missile was announced to be 100 nmi, debates arose in local press around the missile's real range after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly set objectives for the development of a missile with a range of 2,500 km (1,300 nmi) at the plenary session of the High Science and Technology Council on 28 December 2011. Shortly after, head of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) Yücel Altınbaşak informed that they set a task to develop the missile to 2,500 km (1,300 nmi) within 2 years. "The SOM missile is currently tested for 300 km (160 nmi) range and successfully achieved 10 m (33 ft) precision goal, demonstrating around 5 m (16 ft) accuracy in live fires. We are planning to start 500 km (270 nmi) range tests this year. Later the range will be extended to 1,500 km (810 nmi) and finally to 2,500 km (1,300 nmi) in 2014", he said.
On 26 October 2018, Turkey's defence industry authority announced that the missile entered serial production phase with Roketsan.
TUBITAK-SAGE developed the missile in three configurations with varying warheads and guidance/communication packages:
- SOM-A: Basic air force variant, designed to engage a military target in simple strike mode by using the coordinates of the given target at the terminal stage.
- SOM-B1: Advanced air force variant that engages a military target in precision strike mode using imaging infrared matching at the terminal stage.
- SOM-B2: Special air force variant featuring a dual-stage penetrator warhead which is designed to engage strategic and well-protected assets in precision strike mode.
- SOM-J: Designed specifically for use in the internal carriage bay of the F-35 Lightning II by a teaming partnership between TÜBİTAK SAGE and ROKETSAN. It is more compact with folding control surfaces and a booster (rocketry).
- SOM-B1, B2 and J variants feature a data-link for man-in-the-loop update of a waypoint and terminal stage of the missile.
- SOM-C1 and C2: Developed specifically to target mobile surface ships, for anti-ship role.
F-35 Lightning IIEdit
On 24 October 2014 Roketsan of Turkey and Lockheed Martin entered into a teaming agreement whereby the parties would modify, produce and market jointly a new variant of the SOM missile, dubbed SOM-J, for use in the internal carriages of the F-35. Certification efforts are in progress to enable the SOM missile for integration with both Turkish Air Force F-35 Lightning II and NATO allied F-35. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control executive vice-president Rick Edwards has stated that the SOM missile developed by Roketsan is highly advanced and highly effective against command-and-control facilities, surface-to-air missile sites, parked aircraft and surface ships.
Due to its advanced design and performance, the SOM missile is one of two cruise missiles to be integrated with the F-35, the other being the Joint Strike Missile developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace of Norway. On 10 May 2013, Lockheed Martin had officially announced at the F-35 Industry Recognition Event during the IDEF tradeshow that the SOM missile will be certified and deployed on the F-35. The SOM is the first non-U.S. made weapon to use the Universal Armaments Interface (UAI) with Network Enabled Weapon (NEW) capability.
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