STM inks cyber security agreement with ministry

Defense engineering, design and software powerhouse STM has inked a protocol with Turkey’s interior ministry with the scope of “Reviewing and Improving Existing Information Technology and Security Infrastructure”, TR Defence sources reported on April 21.

While the details of the protocol are not included in the report, the new agreement is likely part of the country’s wider, renewed efforts in improving its national information handling and storage systems following several prior high-profile leaks.

In one such event that took place in 2010, a database comprised of voter registration information was compromised, resulting in a leak involving millions of Turkish citizens’ names, addresses, basic family information and national identification numbers.

Aselsan and Roketsan work on national air defense

National Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said that works on the HİSAR national air defense system are continuing at full speed. The HİSAR project, expected to be finished by 2020, was initiated after Turkey cancelled a bid with China for a long-range air defense system. Yılmaz said that the decision was made after Turkey changed objectives, focusing instead on the domestic development of a defense system.

The national defense minister said that Turkish defense system producers Aselsan and Roketsan are the prime contractor and subcontractor of the HİSAR project, respectively. The decision to cancel the bid with China came in spite of a decision by the Defense Industry Executive Committee in 2013 to launch negotiations with China for the Long-Range Missile Defense System. Negotiations were officially halted on Nov. 13 last year in lieu of a decision on domestic production for the proposed system.

Yılmaz stressed that the decision was made under the pretext that defense policies must be based on long-term national studies that focus on the principle of deterrence.

Addressing questions raised by the ministers of Parliament regarding Turkey’s national air defense system, Yılmaz also said that many other companies operating in the defense industry play a crucial role in the development and production processes of the subcomponents of respective air defense systems. He added that air defense systems differ according to their ranges, emphasizing that the development processes varies as well, depending on the respective altitudes and ranges. Alongside the project, Aselsan is developing new radar, command and control systems as well as fire control systems, while Roketsan is developing the missile systems of the HİSAR project.

Daily Sabah

Roketsan to Unveil Guided 122mm Rockets

Turkish missile manufacturer Roketsan is preparing to unveil a guided version of its popular TR-122 Sakarya multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), TR Defence sources confirmed on Tuesday.

The new version has the same range, composite rocket engine and warhead options as its unguided twin but also features a new passive laser seeker that allows the artillery rocket to home in on targets designated by a third party from a safe distance.

“We can now hit targets with pinpoint accuracy. All (that is) needed is someone to paint the target so that it knows exactly where to strike,” a Roketsan employee familiar with the program said on condition of anonymity.

Sakarya II can be guided to its target during the terminal stage of its flight by an UAV or another aerial asset, or an infantry element with a mobile target designator.

“It is now capable of engaging both stationary and moving targets… a world-leading technology in its class,” added the employee.

TR Defence has learned that field tests of the new version are underway and results so far have been promising. Roketsan is expected to officially unveil the new product later in the year and offer it for both TSK use and export.

Aselsan, Honeywell Sign MoU on Collaboration

ANKARA — Turkish defense electronics specialist Aselsan and US Honeywell have signed a memorandum of understanding to generate a framework for future collaboration, Aselsan said in a statement Friday.

The statement from Turkey’s biggest company said: “[Aselsan and Honeywell] signed a memorandum of understanding on the third day of the IDEX 2015 Exhibition at Abu Dhabi.”

It said that the agreement sets forth a pathway for collaboration on avionics products for both civilian and military industries.

It also said: “To ensure that the cooperative work to be undertaken by the companies proceeds efficiently, the parties have agreed to establish a Steering Committee to ensure regular meetings as well as dedicated Working Groups to execute the collaborative efforts.”

Aselsan says its business focuses on in-house critical capabilities, state-of-the-art technologies and sustainable research and development.

The company, listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, primarily engages in design, development, production, system integration, modernization and after sales services in the fields of military communication systems, professional communication systems, radar and electronic warfare systems, electro-optical systems, avionic systems, defense and weapon systems, C4ISR systems, naval combat systems, transportation systems, security systems, and energy and power management systems.

DefenseNews

Qatar buys coast guard boats from Antalya’s Ares

ares75Turkey and Qatar strengthened their relations in a recent agreement in which Qatar’s coast guard pledged to purchase 17 high-speed boats from Antalya-based Ares Shipyard Ltd.

The agreement was signed March 26th at the fourth Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference. According to the deal, Qatar will buy two 46-metre vessels, 10 33-metre vessels and five 23-metre boats.

“We can say that the contract is the biggest one for the military ships category in the region,” said Kerim Kalafatoglu, managing director of Ares Shipyard.

Ares Business Development Manager Stephen Layton told Southeast European Times (SETimes) that the deal will create a number of jobs at the company.

Ares will be adapting designs of its existing boats to meet Qatar’s specifications and plans to deliver them within 56 months, he said.

Relations between Qatar and Turkey, which have become among the most stable in the Middle East, improved even further with the latest agreement, analysts told SETimes.

“This is a very significant achievement for Turkey’s defence sector,” said Maj. Gen. Armagan Kuloglu, who is retired from the Turkish armed forces.

Kuloglu told SETimes that the agreement would not only boost bilateral relations but also would open the doors to co-operation between Turkey and other countries in the region.

“Qatar’s order could be an example for other Gulf countries to give similar orders to Turkey,” he said.

Saban Kardas, the director of Ankara-based think tank Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), said, “We have been witnessing very close co-operation of the two countries in many areas for a long time.”

Ankara and Doha have pursued similar policies regarding international matters, particularly in the conflicts in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and they followed joint conciliation efforts for the settlement of regional disputes, he said.

During the Arab Spring the two countries shared a similar point of view and acted together, Kardas said.

In addition to their co-operation in the international arena, Qatar takes the lead among other Gulf countries in developing economic and military relations with Turkey, Kuloglu said.

“Military Electronic Industries (Aselsan) and software and systems company Informatics and System House of Turkey (Havelsan) both have been working on joint projects in military software field,” Kuloglu said.

Kardas said the agreement between Turkey and Qatar should improve military relations.

“When a country buys a military system from abroad, it is inevitable that it would take trainings and participate in joint military exercises with that country,” he said.

Improved Turkey-Qatar relations

In a statement posted to its website, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that “significant progress has been achieved in recent years with regards to the relations between Turkey and Qatar”.

Between 2008 and 2011, high-level visits between the two countries intensified, the ministry said.

“These visits have deepened and further developed the bilateral relations,” the statement said, adding that economically, Turkey has made it a priority to attract foreign investment and capital from Qatar.

In February, Qatar Minister of Economy and Trade Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said Qatari-Turkish ties are witnessing a major boom.

Growth in bilateral relations increased trade volume between the two countries to nearly $1 billion in 2013, he said at the conclusion of a Doha meeting of the Qatari-Turkish Committee for Economic and Technical Co-operation.

Conference specifics

The Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference drew representatives from 25 prominent Turkish firms, including Aselsan, Havelsan, Roketsan, Turkish Aerospace Industries, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, and Middle East Technical University.

Participants exhibited a variety of military products: tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles, specialised textiles, armaments and munitions, missiles and rocketry, advanced defence electronics, and products in the aerospace technology and naval shipbuilding fields.

Al-shorfa

Turkey to train Malaysia in electronic warfare

Turkey has offered a helping hand to Malaysia in the field of electronic warfare after Malaysian telecommunications company Impressive Communications penned a deal with Turkey’s defense industry manufacturer HAVELSAN.

According to a statment from HAVELSAN, Turkish experts will be training Malaysian engineering students in electronic warfare technologies to provide solutions to the Malaysian Armed Forces.

HAVELSAN, which is partly owned by a Turkish Armed Forces-linked foundation, has a long history in training defense and communications industries in Turkey and other countries in military software systems.

Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Iraq are among the countries to benefit from the program.

WB

Turkish defence industry struggles to go global

Turkey’s defense industry exports have largely been possible through offset arrangements made with foreign arms suppliers. Defense offset agreements, as legal trading practices in the aerospace and military industries, are widely used by many countries as a means of bringing some of the foreign currency going abroad back to the country through arms procurement deals to strengthen local industries through a work share to be given to local companies in a defense project. Yet Turkey’s heavy reliance on offset arrangements in its defense exports, among other things, is hindering its defense industry companies from becoming globally competitive companies.

It is difficult to say that Turkey has used offset commitments in a rational manner to build a stronger local defense industry base. Instead, offset commitments pledged by foreign contractors are sometimes realized in areas such as building additional military headquarters within military compounds instead of focusing on creating technology-based infrastructure.

In essence, offset agreements are protectionist and distort competition.

Hence, any country that receives defense offset commitments must govern these pledges in a transparent and rational manner, minimizing the effects of protectionism, which hinders defense companies from competing at a global level.

Turkey has not yet been able to utilize offset pledges made by foreign contractors to strengthen its defense industry base through the production of critical military technologies despite some of the efforts to this end which have been under way lately.

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz emphasized in a November 2013 speech the importance of offset arrangements with foreign contractors for the development of local industries and for the industry to receive work share as well as for defense exports.

According to figures he released, Turkey’s total defense and aerospace turnover reached $4.75 billion as of 2012 while its exports exceeded $1.26 billion.

Turkey’s exports, however, would have been well below those figures stated above without its offset commitments with foreign arms suppliers.

At the end of the day, Turkish defense industry companies are only being fed with offset arrangements and are not encouraged through state policies to create an export industry based on high military technologies.

Turkish companies have been turning into monsters being fed by offsets instead of the country producing global companies.

As a matter of fact, according to a report released by the Turkish Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) on March 15, there were only five defense industry companies out of the 500 largest Turkish companies and only one defense company out of the 100 fastest growing Turkish companies.

One of the recipes for Turkey to create global defense industry companies is through the privatization of military-owned defense companies, including Aselsan, Roketsan and Havelsan as well as the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

However, the government’s long-time plan to privatize a large portion of the nation’s defense industry companies and increase efficiency through new competitive bidding processes which could force the liquidation of firms that fail to compete faces opposition from the military. The privatization policy was intended to improve the efficiency of these military firms through downsizing and opening them up to competition.

The current unaccountable status of 18 Turkish military companies, whose shares are partly or fully owned by the Foundation to Strengthen the Turkish Armed Forces (TSKGV), stands as a big hurdle to privatization. Added to the problem is the absence of real will within the government to bring these companies under civilian oversight and to finally privatize them.

As a report released by Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March of this year and written by Professor Nurhan Yentürk pointed out, these 18 military companies — whose military spending is not available either — operate according to the law for private commerce but are managed by public officials, namely the TSKGV’s board of trustees consisting of the defense minister, the deputy chief of General Staff and the undersecretary affiliated with the defense minister.

The government’s legislation from February of this year introducing non-defense commercial offset agreements — a practice that runs contrary to international free trade regulations — in the meantime, has the potential to cause a headache for Turkey in its international trade dealings.

It remains to be seen whether the government will finally implement a privatization plan for defense companies while facing serious accusations of corruption and bribery, some of which are linked to the privatization process of civilian local companies.

Kale throttles up jet development for SOM

Kale Havacilik has accelerated efforts to develop a new jet engine for Turkey’s ‘SOM’ stand-off missiles.

Kale Aerospace’s R&D division manager Burcin Elbirlik has informed TR Defence sources that the company reached an advanced stage in its efforts to build a new engine for the missile and that “right now there’s a working prototype”.

“A new, high-tech test center for jet engines is going to become operational by the end of March. Afterwards, we’ll also begin working on turboprop designs” Elbirlik added.

“During the first tests of the new SOM prototype engine, it caught on fire, but these sorts of mishaps are common with such advanced products. The flaws were fixed and now we have a working engine.”

Kale currently imports a large number of its engine components from international suppliers. But they do hope to produce increasingly more components in-house or at least from domestic manufacturers as the project enters serial production.

 

Cirit fights on for European markets

AH-1W test firing Roketsan Cirit
AH-1W test firing Roketsan Cirit

Following firm orders from the Turkish Armed Forces and the Middle East, missile manufacturer Roketsan is now pitching its Cirit lightweight precision rocket system in Europe.

Cirit is a highly cost-effective weapon system that combines the precision of a laser guided multi-purpose missile with the low price and availability of a 2.75″ rocket.

“There will be a large defence fair in Germany that Turkey will also participate. We want to carry Cirit’s success on to European markets. We hope that this coming fair in Europe will be a good opportunity for Cirit to show itself to new potential buyers” said Mr. Selcuk Yasar, Roketsan’s general manager.

“Cirit has recently finished qualification trials in the United Arab Emirates,” he added.

Last February, Roketsan was successful in securing a $196 million contract with the UAE for a total of 10,000 laser-guided Cirit rockets at the IDEX defence fair in Abu Dhabi. The rockets are to be used primarily aboard UAE’s AT-802 airplanes.

Combat Proven Capability

In the meantime, Roketsan continues to deliver an unspecified number of Cirit rockets to the Turkish Land Forces command. These rockets have been delivered in special smart launchers that are installed in remote, Kalekol-class outposts along Turkey’s south eastern border. These systems have been extremely effective in combating terrorism and illegal smuggling.

Naval Compatibility
In addition to being used by airplanes, UAVs, helicopters and even land-based launchers, Turkey is also adapting Cirit to be used aboard naval platforms. The laser homing, 14-kg guided rocket provides lethal precision strike capability against fast attack crafts and similarly sized platforms at a range of 8 kilometers (5 miles).

Saab fights to return sub maker to Sweden

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, formerly Kockums, is developing Sweden's A26 next-generation submarine. Sweden may support a drive to put the shipyard back in Swedish hands by backing a takeover bid by Saab. (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems)
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, formerly Kockums, is developing Sweden’s A26 next-generation submarine. Sweden may support a drive to put the shipyard back in Swedish hands by backing a takeover bid by Saab. (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems)

Sweden — three years after selling its national submarine-maker Kockums to Germany’s ThyssenKrupp — is now fighting to wrest control of its indigenous sub-building capability from the German giant.

The clearest sign of deteriorating relations between Sweden and ThyssenKrupp emerged on Feb. 27, when Sweden’s defense procurement agency FMV announced that it had allocated $3.84 million to investigate Saab’s ability to design and produce Sweden’s next generation submarine.

The move drove speculation that Sweden might support a bid by Saab to take over Kockums, now called ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), which would put ownership back in Sweden.

Swedish Defense Ministry officials expressed disappointment and concern over the lack of guarantees provided by ThyssenKrupp covering commitments to maintain TKMS as a large-vessel producer. More specifically, Swedish officials claim that ThyssenKrupp has still not provided a fixed price for the delivery of two new A26 generation subs and mid-life upgrades to the Navy’s Gotland-class submarines.

The emergence of Saab as a potential builder of the A26 submarine has cast doubt over TKMS’ role in the Navy’s submarine modernization project. TKMS secured the contract to design the A26 in 2010, and provisional costs were included in Sweden’s defense budget for that year.

Management and unions at TKMS’ Malmo-based shipyard warn that the prevailing uncertainty could result in the closure of the country’s only submarine construction facility should the company fail to obtain the A26 and Gotland-class construction and modernization contracts.

Fears relating to the possible loss of contracts has extended to the Malmo shipyard’s 1,000 unionized workers, who are also facing a reorganization of operations, with ThyssenKrupp reported to be planning to designate Malmo as its industrial hub for small-sized subs and surface vessels up to 1,000 tons, a prospect that has also further hurt relations with Swedish authorities given that the A26 and Gotland-class subs have a displacement of around 1,900 tons.

The lack of a fixed price from ThyssenKrupp regarding the A26 and the Gotland-class submarine programs means that to proceed to the build stage would be neither practical, sustainable or the best use of funds in respect of the armed forces or taxpayer’s money, said FMV spokesperson Louise Wileen Bjarke.

Saab, which maintains that it could quickly create the capacity needed to build and modernize submarines, has declined to comment on market reports that it is engaged in exploratory talks that could see it takeover TKMS’ operations from ThyssenKrupp.

Sweden’s MoD, the FMV and ThyssenKrupp also declined to comment on a possible state-support acquisition push.

ThyssenKrupp, through its subsidiary Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), acquired the then-Kockums Naval Systems business from Swedish industrial Celsius AB in 1999. HDW later became part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The divestment placed Sweden’s submarine production capability under foreign ownership.

Along with Saab’s fighter production capability, submarine warfare represented the two biggest strands of Sweden’s indigenous defense industry.

DefenseNews