The Obama administration criticized five key military allies Wednesday to take on a greater share of the NATO-led air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, illustrating the strains of a three-month intervention in Libya that has no time frame for an exit.
The pressure on Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey and Netherlands comes as the alliance continues with intensified airstrikes on Libya’s capital.
Gates said Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands should enhance their limited participation in noncombat operations by joining in strike missions against ground targets, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal NATO deliberations. They said Gates pressed Germany and Poland, the two countries not participating at all militarily, to help in some form.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton likely will restate Gates’ argument Thursday when NATO nations and Arab governments participating in the air campaign meet in the United Arab Emirates.
Responding to the US criticism, Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said Thursday that the Turkish prime minister, government and Turkish president would decide on a possible role for Turkey in air bombing of Libya when the issue came up on the agenda of the government.
I have not yet received Mr. Gates’s demand and his words on the issue, Gonul told reporters in southern province of Antalya on Thursday.
Our decision on Libya has two dimensions. One of them has to do with the embargo while the other involves humanitarian assistance. We are contributing to the embargo with four frigates, one submarine and six F-16 jets. We have a principled decision on not participating in the “No Fly Zone”. The decision is valid today. Once Mr. Gates’s demand reaches the Turkish government, our Prime Minister, the whole government and our President would assess the situation, Gonul also said.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is putting an unprecedented emphasis on the defense industry in its campaign for the June 12 elections. The party’s promises focus on establishing and developing a domestic industry that comes near to being self-sufficient. PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says the capital city of Ankara will become the headquarters of the sector
Visions for the defense industry have not played a key role in election campaigns by either a ruling or opposition party ahead of previous Turkish polls. But this year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been holding up Turkey’s developing national defense industry as one of the pillars of a modern economy in the 2020s.
In the weeks leading up to the nationwide parliamentary election that will be held June 12, Erdoğan had made three major speeches on the national defense industry.
Explaining his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, election manifesto in late April, Erdoğan pledged that Turkey’s local defense companies would manufacture indigenous “tanks, helicopters, war planes, unmanned aerial vehicles and military satellites in the next 12 years.”
The prime minister has vigorously set out a national strategy to maximize local production in Turkey’s defense programs, aiming at what he calls “near self-sufficiency.” In recent years, Turkey has practically suspended off-the-shelf purchase options, restructuring programs into local development or coproduction.
As it seeks re-election for a third term in power, the incumbent AKP government is also ambitiously planning to make Ankara, the country’s capital, into a “global defense industry base.”
In a televised speech May 25, Erdoğan said new investments would make Ankara a global defense and aerospace center catering to both local and international companies.
“Turkey’s defense industry capital is Ankara,” Erdoğan reiterated in a May 29 speech. He said local companies are targeting $8 billion in sales by 2016, $6 billion of which will come from companies based in Ankara. Two major planned investments will serve the prime minister’s goal, according to defense industry officials.
The first involves the Ankara-based powerhouse Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, which already has pushed the button to build a $100 million Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test Center, or UMET.
TAI’s general manager, Muharrem Dörtkaşlı, said UMET would become operational by the end of 2012. “This will be a place where final assembly of both military and civilian satellites will be carried out with state-of-the-art technology. Also, the planned center will conduct series of tests with full space-simulation capability before satellites are launched,” Dörtkaşlı said.
Making, testing satellites
According to Erdoğan, a total of 120 engineers will be employed at the facility, where two satellites will be able to go through simultaneous production and testing. “First, we will assemble and test the Göktürk [military] satellite at the new plant,” Dörtkaşlı said.
Telespazio, a joint venture between Italy’s defense giant Finmeccanica and France’s Thales, signed a nearly 250 million-euro deal a couple of years ago to lead the effort for the Turkish military satellite. Finmeccanica has a 67 percent stake in Telespazio.
TAI was created in the late 1980s to carry out partial production and assembly of the F-16 fighter aircraft, made by the U.S. firm Lockheed Martin. In its early years, it also assembled the Spanish-made CN-235 light transport aircraft and some utility helicopters.
Now it is the prime contractor in building 60 T-129 attack helicopters developed by the Italian AgustaWestland for the Turkish Army. It also has been selected as prime contractor in Turkey’s coproduction of at least 109 T-70 utility helicopters, Turkish versions of the U.S. firm Sikorsky Aircraft’s S-70i Black Hawk International. TAI also is coproducing the KT-1 basic trainer aircraft with South Korea, developing its own basic trainer aircraft and is building Turkey’s first medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, the Anka.
The second investment plan is for the building of a Radar and Electronic Warfare Systems center in Gölbaşı, near Ankara. The center will be built and operated by Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense company and a military electronics specialist.
Aselsan, also based in the capital, last year obtained a 192.5 million Turkish Liras ($130 million) investment incentive from the Treasury for the new center. Industry sources said the total cost for building the new plant would be around $200 million.
They said Aselsan plans to start production at the planned facility in 2013. Principal tasks will be the research, development, design and production of air defense radars, land radars, signal interceptors, jammers, microwave modules and various pieces of electronic warfare equipment.
Aselsan plans to transfer the 700 employees currently active at its Macunköy, Ankara, plant to the new site. There will be additional 400 engineering positions available.
NATO and Russia failed to reach a breakthrough on a missile shield project in Europe on June 8 with the Russian defense minister complaining that Moscow’s demands were falling on deaf ears.
After talks between NATO defense ministers and their Russian counterpart in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen dismissed Russian demands for a legal guarantee that the project was not directed at Russia.
“It would be in the interest of Russia to engage in a positive cooperation with NATO and focus on real security challenges instead of some ghosts of the past that don’t exist anymore,” Rasmussen said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed at a NATO summit in November to explore the possibility of cooperating with the former Cold War foe on a system to protect Europe’s population from the threat of ballistic missiles.
Fearing that the system would undermine its nuclear deterrent, Moscow has since then demanded a legally binding guarantee that the missile shield was not aimed at Russia.
The Western military alliance has also rejected Medvedev’s idea of dividing the European continent into sectors of military responsibility, with Rasmussen saying the two sides should keep their systems separate.
“NATO is not hearing us for the moment,” said Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. “NATO’s position is not acceptable to Russia,” he said, adding however that Russia still hoped to reach an agreement.
Despite the lack of a breakthrough, Rasmussen said he was optimistic that a deal could be reach in time for the next NATO summit hosted by the United States in May 2012.
“The Russians have their positions and their interests, we have our positions and our interests, and now the political challenge is to build a bridge and we still have some time,” he said.
“I would expect us to make steady progress. It would be hard work but I’m still optimistic. I think at the end of the day we can reach a solution.”
In the meantime, NATO defense ministers adopted an action plan on June 8 to forge ahead with the missile shield project, which an alliance official said is expected to be completed by 2018.
Three hundred global cyber experts gathered in Tallinn on June 7 for a NATO Cyber Conflict conference focused on the legal and political aspects of national and global Internet security amid a rise in attacks.
“The special focus at the conference this year is on generating cyber forces (…) the technologies, people and organizations that nations require to mitigate cyber threats that have been increasing with rapid speed,” Col. Ilmar Tamm, head of NATO’s Tallinn-based Cyber Defence Centre told AFP as the forum got underway.
According to Tamm, the Symantec cyber security firm recently reported that “web-based attacks in 2010 were up 93 percent from 2009.”
“This calls for frameworks in both legal and strategic aspects which would guide the decision makers on how to act on these cases,” Tamm said.
The Tallinn conference will coincide with a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels where a new cyber defense policy for NATO will be adopted.
Meanwhile, at the third annual Tallinn meeting, experts from 37 countries are to share cutting-edge cyber security research, Tamm explained.
Among others, Ralph Langner, the German computer scientist who conducted much of the ground-breaking research on the Stuxnet worm, will present an analysis of what has been called the world’s first cyber weapon.
Keir Giles from the U.K. Conflict Studies Research Centre is to analyze global cyber attacks from Russia and whether they can be seen as acting under a so-called Russian Cyber Command.
Talks will also focus on the recent U.S. government decision to treat cyber attacks as military attacks and make relevant legislative changes.
“The support the U.S. initiative has got in many other states, including Estonia and the U.K., indicates nations’ increasing willingness to discuss military responses to cyber attacks,” Tamm told AFP.
“With cyber incidents becoming more and more intrusive, it is a logical step for militaries to develop capabilities to counter cyber attacks and be prepared to engage in proportional response to cyber attacks,” he added.
Though in practice, “it will be challenging to tailor a cyber response that would respect the rules of combat related to civilian objects and collateral damage,” he added.
More than 5,000 nuclear weapons are deployed around the world and nuclear powers continue investing in new weapon systems, making meaningful disarmament in the near future unlikely, a report published Tuesday said.
“More than 5,000 nuclear weapons are deployed and ready for use, including nearly 2,000 that are kept in a high state of alert,” according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
SIPRI’s report said the world’s eight nuclear powers – Britain, China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia and the U.S. – possess more than 20,500warheads.
As of January 2011, Russia had 11,000 nuclear warheads, including 2,427deployed, while the United States had 8,500 including 2,150 deployed, the report said.
The U.S. and Russia have signed a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that calls for a maximum of 1,550 warheads deployed per country.
However SIPRI argued that prospects for meaningful disarmament in the short-term are grim as all eight countries seem committed to either improving or maintaining their nuclear programs.
“The five legally recognized nuclear weapons states, as defined by the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty are either deploying new nuclear weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so,” the report said, referring to Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.
India and Pakistan are “expanding their capacity to produce fissile material for military purposes,” according to the report.
SIPRI Director Daniel Nord said south Asia, where relations between India and Pakistan seem perpetually tense, is “the only place in the world where you have a nuclear weapons arms race.”
While Israel, which has never conclusively declared itself a nuclear weapons state but is almost universally assumed to be one, “appears to be waiting to assess how the situation with Iran’s nuclear program develops,” SIPRI said.
Nord argued that because “nuclear weapons states are modernizing and are investing in their nuclear weapons establishments (it) seems unlikely that there will be any real nuclear weapon disarmament within the foreseeable future.”
The report said that North Korea “is believed to have produced enough plutonium to build a small number of nuclear warheads, but there is no public information to verify that it has operational nuclear weapons.”
Nord identified Pakistan “losing control of part of its nuclear arsenal” to a terrorist group as a specific concern.
He also voiced worry over the potential consequences if “Israel or the United States decide that they will have to intervene and do something about the program in Iran.”
Iran has repeatedly insisted that its nuclear program is non-military, but several world powers have demanded closer international inspection of Iran’s nuclear sites to verify the claim.
SIPRI is an independent institution that receives 50 percent of its funding from the Swedish state.
The clout of emerging economies is increasing in global trade, according to a benchmark report on Africa, showing the ability of nations, including Turkey, to open inroads into the economic centers of the African continent.
India, Turkey, South Korea and Brazil are emulating China’s push to boost trade with Africa, as they erode the market share of the continent’s traditional European and North American trading partners, according to the 2011 African Economic Outlook released Monday.
The report comes at a time when HSBC’s influential chief economist Stephen King talks about the creation of a “Southern Silk Road,” a network of new “south-south” trading routes connecting Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
In his analysis also released Monday, King claimed that such connections are set to revolutionize the global economy. “We believe that trade and capital flows between emerging areas of the world could increase 10-fold in the next 40 forty years,” he said. “In the same way that trade between the developed nations exploded in the 1950s and 1960s, we expect the 21st century to see turbocharged trade growth between the emerging nations.”
Emerging economies accounted for about 39 percent of Africa’s merchandise trade in 2009, up from 23 percent a decade earlier, according to the 2001 African Economic Outlook, which was released in Lisbon.
China accounted for 13.9 percent of Africa’s total trade of $629 billion in 2009, while India accounted for 5.1 percent, South Korea 2.6 percent, Brazil 2.5 percent, Turkey 2.4 percent and Thailand 1.1 percent, said the Outlook.
The report was produced by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations Development Program and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
“Africa now has two engines to fly on,” OECD economist Jean-Phillipe Stijns, one of the report’s authors, told Bloomberg News. “The diversification of its trading partners bodes well for its ability to resist better the ups and downs of the global business cycle.”
Africa’s new trading partners may also help it reduce its reliance on exporting raw materials. While 85 percent of foreign direct investment flows from traditional investors into resource-rich countries, the ratio for emerging partners is closer to 70 percent, according to Stijns.
“There is this perception that emerging partners, more than any other partners, are resource hungry and the reason they are in Africa is to get the lion’s share of natural resources,” he said. “They are not the culprits. In fact, emerging partners are more diversified than traditional partners in terms of where they are active in Africa.”
According to HSBC’s King, the ongoing “trade revolution” will soon be joined by new finance centers. “Asian financial centers are growing rapidly and, in time, the [Chinese] renminbi may become the world’s most important reserve currency,” he said, continuing: “Already, China has five of the 10 biggest ports in the world. Other emerging nations are not quite so advanced. But, with the help of Chinese investment, the process of infrastructure ‘catch-up’ is slowly being established.”
King raised eyebrows with his latest “Losing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western Prosperity” book. In Monday’s report, he said proposed railways coast-to-coast “across Colombia and from China through to Turkey” alongside new port construction in the Indian Ocean show the shape of things to come. According to King, the center of economic and political gravity is “heading South and East” in a 21st-century version of the original Asian Silk Road, this time involving South-South connections over “land, sea, air and the electronic ether.”
China will launch Turkey’s first intelligence satellite, Göktürk-2, for $20 million since Turkey lacks the required technology to launch the satellite. Göktürk-2, which will be capable of detecting the movements of objects smaller than even one square meter, will help capture terrorists infiltrating Turkish borders.
The optical camera for the satellite has been bought from South Korea, while all the other parts have been produced and manufactured in Turkey. Göktürk-2 is expected to be launched in December or in early 2012.
The Göktürk-2 satellite will also be used for monitoring civilian activities such as control of forestland, tracking illegal construction, rapid assessment of damage after natural disasters, determination of agricultural boundaries and geographical data gathering. The project also aims to furnish national industries with the capability to design and integrate satellite systems and run tests on them here in Turkey.
Turkish defense industry companies and research centers Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and Turksat will participate in all phases of the project. The project consists of the construction of an electro-optic satellite system that will be put into orbit, a fixed land station and a mobile land station.
Gokturk-1, a higher resolution version of the satellite using a more advanced bus and different frame, is currently under construction by a consortium of Telespazio and Thales-Alenia. Planned for launch in 2013, Gokturk-1 will be capable of providing imagery at a resolution of 30cm.
According to rumors circulating around Turkish defence spheres, Israel actively tries using diplomatic pressure to block the launch of Göktürk-2, fearing that Turkey will be able to monitor Israel’s territory. However, no international legal remedy is available to Israel to limit the operations of Gokturk satellites at this time.
“You’ve been monitoring us [Turkish terriotory] for years.” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in a press conference, referring to the unreasonable request of Israeli authorities.
“No compromise is expected to be reached with Israel regarding this matter,” a Turkish official told TR Defence at the IDEF international defence industry fair.
Industrial defence cooperation between Turkey and China goes back at least two decades. Turkey has acquired a number artillery rockets from China and codeveloped short-range ballistic missiles.
Turkish defense industry company, Aselsan, has manufactured Turkey’s first domestic sonar system capable of ‘jamming’ incoming topedos.
Aselsan’s underwater sonar system, “Kulac”, has the “jammer” technology aiming at eliminating torpedo threat. Moreover, it can be used to measure sea depth, as well as distance, direction and speed of enemy submarines, defense experts told AA on Wednesday.
Kulac, which can work in two different frequencies based on various depths, can perceive sound reflections coming from a 1,000 m distance, experts also said.
Earlier in May, Aselsan has introduced several other torpedo seeker sonar systems at the IDEF’11 international defense industry fair in Istanbul.
Turkey, thanks to Aselsan’s contribution, is one of the top 10 countries in the world which design their own electronic war equipment.
Aselsan started operating with the aim of creating a self-sufficient industry primarily for defense requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces. Today, the company has become a high technology, multi-product defense electronics company by introducing state-of-the-art equipment and systems solutions for both military and professional applications.
Aselsan’s main fields of activity are Communication and Information Technologies; Defense Systems Technologies; Radar, Electronic Warfare and Intelligence Systems; and Microelectronics, Guidance, and Electro-Optics.
Turkey’s largest defense company is beginning to flight-test the country’s first indigenous advanced targeting and reconnaissance pod.
The tests mark the end of the initial phase of an ambitious program by military electronics specialist Aselsan. It is not publicly known how long Aselsan has been working on the once-classified project, but the company says it has so far spent $50 million to design and develop the Aselpod.
Built to track up to four targets simultaneously in infrared (IR) and day video, the pod contains a zoomable, third-generation IR camera with a 640×512 mid-wave detector and three fields of view. Both IR and video cameras can automatically track objects on the ground and in the air, and inertial trackers help keep the cameras on target even when the line of sight is momentarily obscured.
For stability, the cameras pivot on a four-axis gimbal in the sensor head. Solid-state recorders bring the information back home for debriefing. A laser pointer enables the pod to designate targets for other weapons, and a laser spot tracker allows the pod to lock onto targets illuminated by others.
Military and company officials declined to discuss further details about the pod and its development.
The tests are proceeding at an air base in Eskisehir, 220 kilometers northwest of here. The Turkish Air Force plans to install the first Aselpod to an F-4E 2020 before the end of 2011.
The second phase of the program calls for the production of 16 pods, to be installed on F-16 Block 50 fighter jets.
Procurement officials said the Aselpod, when fully operational, will replace the U.S. made LANTIRN, a combined navigation and targeting pod system for use on the U.S. Air Force’s premier fighter aircraft – the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Block 40/42 C and D models.
Last year, Lockheed Martin signed a foreign military sales contract to deliver Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATPs) and LANTIRN Enhanced Resolution (ER) navigation pods to the Turkish Air Force. Valued at $118 million, the contract will provide Sniper ATP and LANTIRN ER navigation pods to equip Turkish Air Force F-16 Block 40 and Block 50 Peace Onyx aircraft.
A Turkish defense official said the military hopes the Aselpod eventually will replace the LANTIRN.
“The program reflects a strategic choice to end our dependency on foreign [U.S.] systems for targeting equipment,” he said.
But analysts were dubious about official claims about the Aselpod.
An Ankara-based defense analyst said that although Aselsan has invested much time and resources into the Aselpod program, the end result may fall short of the Turkish ambitions.
“No doubt, the Turkish system will work this way or another, within this time frame or another,” he said. “But how much the Aselpod may deviate from the existing technology and costings is yet to be seen.”
A London-based Turkey specialist said the Aselpod may be another example of Turkish ambition to go local.
“Indigenous programs often make the Turks proud. But success in terms of desired capabilities and costs is something else,” he said.
In recent years, Turkey’s procurement planners have strongly encouraged local design, development and production of systems including UAVs, armored vehicles, helicopters, trainer aircraft, naval platforms and several defense electronic, avionic and software systems.
Aselsan is a public company owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Support Foundation. Turkey’s top five defense companies are all owned by the same foundation.
Aselsan reported $792 million in sales in 2010. It aims at $850 million this year and $1 billion in 2013. The company exports products to 37 countries.