Finally some five years later than expected, the Turkish Air Force officially inducted the first Boeing 737-7ES Peace Eagle airborne early warning and control aircraft on February 21.
The aircraft, 06-001/N356BJ, was flown from the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) facility in Ankara to its new home at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command, Konya, where the type will be operated by 131 Filo. Turkey placed a $1.6 billion order for four 737-7ES AEW&C aircraft, plus two options, on July 23, 2003, under the Peace Eagle programme. The options have since expired and only four aircraft are being acquired.
While TAI was primary sub-contractor for the project systems integration for the last three aircraft was carried out by Aselsan. The first Boeing 737 which was the pattern aircraft was worked on by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Seattle, Washington. Two more aircraft will be delivered before the end of this year, with the fourth and final example expected in 2015. Alan Warnes