ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The first of three maritime surveillance aircraft for Turkey's coast guard has been delivered by Thales of France.
The planes, based on modified CASA CN-235 platforms, will primarily be used for surface surveillance, anti-drug and other counter-smuggling operations, the prevention of illegal immigration and illicit fishing along with search-and-rescue missions.
The aircraft was provided under Turkey's Meltem II program, which provides for the procurement of nine maritime aircraft -- three surveillance planes for the coast guard and six patrol planes for the navy.
The program includes the provision of additional maritime patrol systems to the Turkish navy, which will be integrated on ATR 72 aircraft.
The surveillance aircraft was delivered in a ceremony at a Turkish Aerospace Industry plant in Ankara and was attended by Pierre Eric Pommellet, senior vice president of the Thales Group, Turkish Minister of Interior Idris Naim Sahin and various other French and Turkish officials.