National Air Frigate (Turkestan)
The National Air Frigate project was easily the most challenging of the four Key National Defence Projects announced in 1994 by the Turkestani government.
Up until this announcement, Turkestan had not built airships at all; all of its military airships were built at Russian yards, and its civilian airships were purchased from abroad, mostly Russia. This was one way in which the SNOR was able to exert pressure on Turkestan; in the early days following the Snorist "liberation" of the country, it was deemed "unsafe" to allow rebellious former provinces like Turkestan to have the opportunity to independently develop strategic technologies like military dirigibles. Later, when the EBÜK regime was considered less of a liability, it would have meant taking work from "honest Russian manufacturers" in good Russian construction yards, so the Russian-building of Turkestani airships was continued.
During the 1991-1994 war with Uyguristan, both nations suffered from military hardware supply problems caused by the upheavals in Russia in the immediate post-SNOR period. Turkestan's long-term solution has been to try to self-build as much as they can, and to purchase what they cannot build from a variety of sources.
The National Air Frigate Project, then, was to be the first step in Turkestani self-sufficiency in a key military hardware area. However, after the initial flurry of ideas, which ranged from the very derivative to the highly original, the project got bogged down by the fact that no-one had any actual experience building airships.
Following an agreement apparently reached at the Turkestani International Air Show in September 2008, the RTC company Wenedyk Hindenburg S.A. is providing technical assistance to the Turkestani development team in exchange for UKU's experimental data on their flying wing program, together with several Boran jet fighters for independent flight testing.
The National Air Frigate is expected to incorporate the Qara Nayza missile system together with the powerful ATLAS targeting radar (somewhat analogous to *here*'s AEGIS system).
The first airship of this new class is expected to begin construction in late 2009.
Plans have been announced to name the class flagship the E.S. Bahram. Other possible names include E.S. Sultan or E.S. İrkeştam Pass