US firms seek Turkish defense contracts, partners

A mission of US defense and aerospace industry firms, which include Bell, Boeing and Sikorsky, will visit Istanbul and Ankara to seek local partners. The US commerce undersecretary will lead the mission.

A large business mission of U.S.-based defense and aerospace companies, including world giants such as Bell Helicopter, Boeing, General Electric and Sikorsky, will arrive in Turkey on Dec. 3 to seek local contracts and partnerships, according to a written statement by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. U.S. Commerce Undersecretary Francisco J. Sanchez will lead the trade mission of 19 American firms, the statement said.

“Turkey is a priority market for the U.S. Department of Commerce – and the only one in Europe. More and more American firms are discovering the Turkish market and seeking partners in this growing economy. I look forward to returning to Turkey with leading U.S. defense and aerospace companies to facilitate partnerships with Turkish firms,” Sanchez said.
The trade mission will visit Ankara from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5 before going to Istanbul on Dec. 6 for two days.

“The mission will identify opportunities for U.S.-Turkish business partnerships and offer trade financing to qualified firms. This business development effort is part of ongoing efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment between the United States and Turkey, under the aegis of the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation,” the statement said.

Turkish sector companies are asked to request face-to-face introductions with U.S. companies on the mission.

U.S. companies won two contracts in the past year and are viewed as front-runners in two others. In April 2011, Sikorsky Aircraft defeated Italy’s AgustaWestland in a competition to lead the co-production of more than 100 T-70 utility helicopters, a Turkish version of the Black Hawk International. In January 2012, Turkey’s top procurement body picked Bell Helicopter Textron for the country’s light police helicopters.

The U.S. is among the strongest bidders for Turkey’s estimated $4 billion Long-Range Air and Missile Defense Systems program.

‘Vibrat’ ties

“Since President [Barack] Obama’s visit to Turkey in 2009, we are adding to our vibrant political and defense relationships through increased bilateral trade and investment,” U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone noted in the press release.

“In 2011 we set a new record with nearly $20 billion in U.S.-Turkish trade. This year, we saw the first visit of a U.S. secretary of commerce to Turkey in 14 years and the first visit ever by a U.S. trade representative. Despite regional tensions, our trade and investment relationship is stronger than ever, building on Turkey’s economic success. In this way, we are fulfilling President Obama’s call to ‘renew the alliance between our nations and the friendship between our peoples.’”

The mission is organized the U.S. Mission’s Commercial Service in partnership with the Undersecretariat of the Defense Industry, Ankara Industry Chamber, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), American Business Forum in Turkey and the Turkish Businessmen’s Association.

Aegis Radar Appears on Italian Ship

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri is well known for showing a wide array of designs at naval expositions, and a huge model of the Italian Navy’s sail training ship Amerigo Vespucci dominates their display at the Euronaval exposition just outside Paris. But tucked in among more than two dozen ship models is a frigate design featuring something quite different for the company — four Aegis SPY1-D radar panels on the forward superstructure, along with a Mark 41 vertical launch system.

It appears to be the first time a shipbuilder is showing the Aegis system on a ship other than a U.S. design and its Japanese and South Korean derivatives, or on frigates built or designed by Spanish shipyard Navantia for the Spanish, Norwegian and Australian navies.

Fincantieri’s “theater ballistic missile defense surface combatant” is a concept design, intended to show that the Aegis system, currently the only shipborne ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, can be installed on a ship with a hull similar to the FREMM multimission frigates built by Italy and France.

No European government has announced a current requirement to build a BMD ship, but an industry source said the design is meant to show that Fincantieri already is thinking along those lines and has a design readily adapted to the BMD role.

No formal relationship with Lockheed Martin is behind the design, the industry source said.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman at Euronaval declined comment on Fincantieri’s design, other than to say there was no formal agreement between Lockheed and Fincantieri to develop an Aegis frigate.

“They are clearly linked with Navantia on their Aegis frigates,” the industry source said of Lockheed. “But this could be a winning solution too,” referring to the Fincantieri design.

The 6,500-ton Fincantieri Aegis frigate uses the 144-meter hull of a FREMM variant designed for Brazil, powered by a combined diesel and gas turbine arrangement.

Fincantieri, however, has a strong relationship with Lockheed on a non-Aegis program. The firm owns Fincantieri Marinette Marine, which builds Lockheed’s littoral combat ship in Marinette, Wis.

And while Lockheed has produced several potential export designs of its LCS fitted with an Aegis system, there are no active plans to build such ships.

Turkey Increases Civilian Power Over Defence Purchases

New rules on Turkish defense procurement that broaden the jurisdiction and procurement management powers of the country’s defense procurement agency are raising concerns over whether that power will be abused, analysts said.

The Turkish government on Oct. 7 launched a set of rules regulating the country’s procurement mechanism. Rules that would place more power into the hands of civilians have been expected since the Sept. 21 conviction of 325 military officers, which was widely viewed as the end of military dominance in Turkish procurement matters.

“We expect to gain more bureaucratic power enabling us to be quicker in start-up, assessment and finalization phases, as well as [providing] more flexibility in project management,” said a source with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM).

Ceyhun Erguven, an Ankara-based analyst, agrees. “Whether these new powers will create an all-too-powerful SSM — and a one-man show in the personality of the prime minister — are to be seen in time. But ideally, the new rules should centralize the bureaucratic decision-making mechanism and create a more efficient system,” he said.

Under the old rules, programs were officially launched after lengthy back-and-forth negotiations between the SSM and the military, and then through further discussions at the Defense Industry Executive Committee. Now, once the user specifies a requirement, and the SSM approves it, the issue will go to the defense minister’s desk for final approval.

The SSM also will have powers to make sole-source purchases when it deems them necessary due to “national interest, confidentiality, monopoly of technological capabilities and meeting urgent requirements.”

One controversial article in the new rules states: “The SSM has the authority, without undergoing any legal responsibility, to accept or refuse bids or to assess them fully or partly or to scrap a bidding process entirely or partly or to award a contract to any contender it deems appropriate.”

This may create legal loopholes and disputes in the future, a second Ankara-based analyst said.

“Obviously, the SSM cannot make itself legally untouchable just because a Cabinet decree gives it powers to be as such,” he said on condition of anonymity. “That article can always be legally challenged.”

An industry source expressed fear that under the new system, the SSM, acting under orders from the prime minister, can decide to buy from company X without competition and totally at its own convenience.

Another rule in the 17-article plan states that any move to eliminate extraneous bidders — known as “short-listing,” which then requires remaining bidders to submit revised proposals — will be approved personally by the chief of the SSM, presently Undersecretary Murad Bayar. The undersecretary also has the authority to endorse final contracts after negotiations.

The new rules additionally empower the SSM to revise modernization programs within the budgetary limits and to agree or disagree to the acquisition of extra systems and services in return for contractors’ offset obligations. Previously, those revisions had to be discussed by the Defense Industry Executive Committee, which is chaired by the prime minister and includes the SSM chief, defense minister and top military commander.

An offset is an industrial payback offered by the selling country to the buying country in return for the purchase of defense equipment.

Government-to-government defense deals are exempt from the new procurement rules, but contracts in this category of deals also will be managed and signed by the SSM.

A new article regarding program management also gives the SSM full authority to determine company roles in multiplayer contracts and decide on division of work; examine complaints over bidding processes and decide on these complaints; inspect and examine individual programs and companies involved; and give final acceptance of systems.

The SSM official said that all contracts that had not been finalized before Oct. 7 will be subject to the new rules.

Industry sources said some of the competitions falling into the new jurisdiction include the purchase of long-range air and missile defense systems, valued at $4 billion; the purchase of a landing platform dock ship, valued at $500 million; acquisition of a batch of 119 utility helicopters, valued at $3.5 billion; and the upcoming light utility helicopter program, valued at billions of dollars.


Aselsan to produce STAMP & STOP systems in UAE

Turkey’s defence electronics giant Aselsan has signed a $2.7 million contract with IGG of the United Arab Emirates.

The contract aims to build and upgrade IGG’s facilities for the production of Aselsan’s proprietary STAMP and STOP stabilized remote weapon systems. STAMP features a two-axis gyro stabilized 12.7mm machine gun, remote command and control systems and a sensor suite complete with daylight TV, laser range finder and high-resolution infrared cameras. STOP is a similar platform that has adopted the 40mm grenade launcher as its primary weapon.

The project will last through 2013.


Aselsan to demostrate products at high-tech Radar Technology Conference

DefenceIQ’s Military Radar conference (27 – 29, November, London), now in its 10th year, is set to gather international military radar specialists and key players across industry, procurement and development including the Royal Air Force, French Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, DSTL, DRDC, Selex Galileo, Aselsan and Raytheon.

Military Radar will provide insight from the military radar user and operator perspective on the latest radar systems across land, air and sea domains. There will be updates on the latest developments in radar where delegates will gain a complete picture from T/R modules and low cost multi-sensors to GMTI computational linguistic methods.

“Military Radar provides an excellent forum to interface with worldwide operational users and radar professionals to gain better understanding of radar capability needs and emerging radar trends to meet these needs”said Arnie Victor, Director, Strategy and Business Development, Raytheon.

Presentations at Military Radar include:


  • Netherlands SMART-L Upgrade: Thales Long-Range Air Defence Radar: led by Lieutenant Commander Ton de Kleijn, Head of Section Sensor Technology, DMO Netherlands


Defence Research:

  • Airborne Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar Technology: led by Dr Stephen Moore, Radar Team Leader, Joint Systems Department, DSTL


Industry Leaders:

  • ASELSAN Family of Air Defense Radars and Technology Building Blocks: led by, Dr Alpay Erdoğan, Manager, Air Defense Radars Programs, Aselsan


Speakers will outline the changing requirements and technological progress in semi-conductor materials (GaN, GaAs, Si1−xGex, InP) to advances in data processing. Millimeter Wave Radar and Military Applications: Diversity Means Superiority will be the core focus for two practical workshops at the event.

Ahead of the Military Radar gathering, DefenceIQ conducted an interview with Lieutenant Commander Mark Ruston, Requirements Manager at the UK Royal Navy on how the UK Royal Navy is rehauling radar for the modern era. In this interview Lt. Cdr. Ruston discusses major developments within the radar field where British Forces are concerned, including 4G remediation and upgrades for the 997 radar on the Type-23 frigate “HMS Iron Duke”.

The 10thAnnual Military Radar is sponsored by: Aselsan and Astra Microwave Products Limited.

EASA Awards TAI with Design Organization Certificate

TAI Hurkus - Turkish Trainer Airplane

Being Turkey’s center of technology in design, development, modernization, manufacturing, integration and life cycle support of integrated aerospace systems, from fixed and rotary wing air platforms to unmanned aerial vehicle and space systems, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI), was awarded by EASA with the “Design Organization Certificate” for her Trainer Aircraft “HÜRKUŞ.”

TAI applied EASA in 2007 for Design Organization Certification, which certifies that the aircraft design process was performed within the approved regulations and standards.

Since then, TAI has successfully passed all the audits that were performed by the specialists of the European and Turkish Authorities, EASA and SHGM, and was awarded with the privilege to design an aircraft complying with international safety regulations. This authorization is the first of its kind that has been awarded to Turkey.

The Certificate confirms that TAI complies with the international standards starting from concept phase to the flight tests till the type certification.

All approved regulations and standards will form the basis for TAI’s future development programs such as Regional Jet or Fighter Jets.

U.K. To Order First Production F-35 for Training

Britain is to order a fourth F-35B short-takeoff and vertical-landing (STOVL) fighter next year from builder Lockheed Martin. The aircraft will be the first production-standard F-35 destined for the training fleet, rather than the test and evaluation role being undertaken by the first three aircraft ordered by the British.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond made the order announcement during the handover of the first of the aircraft at a ceremony at the U.S. contractor’s Fort Worth plant in Texas on July 19. The initial three aircraft were purchased at a cost of nearly 300 million pounds ($469.2 million) for test and evaluation, but the fourth will be used to give front-line pilots their first taste of training on the F-35.

The second evaluation aircraft will be delivered next month and the third is scheduled for handover in early 2013. The latest order will see the fourth aircraft delivered in the 2015-2016 time frame.

The British, the only full-scale international partner in the development of the Joint Strike Fighter, become the first country outside the United States to take delivery of an aircraft.

The fighter will be jointly operated by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

Hammond recently said that although no final decision had been made, the RAF jets were likely to be based at Marham, Norfolk, starting in 2018. Flight trials from the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carrier will commence at about the same time.

The handover and new order follows a period of near farce when the British government managed two U-turns in quick succession on the variant of the F-35 it intended to operate.

An initial, long-standing decision to go for the B STOVL variant was overturned in favor of the C conventional carrier version, only for the Conservative-led coalition government to change its mind again a few months later when it became apparent that the cost of modifying the aircraft carriers now being built would be prohibitive.

The British have declined to give any information on aircraft order numbers ahead of the next strategic defense and security review, scheduled for 2015.


Thales Delivers Four Maritime Patrol Aircraft to Turkey

Thales has completed delivery of initial standard maritime patrol  aircraft under the Meltem II programme for Turkey, with four aircraft  entering service between February and June 2012.

Pierre Eric Pommellet, Executive Chairman of Thales Systèmes Aéroportés,  officially handed over the aircraft during a ceremony at the Tusas Aerospace  Industry (TAI) facility in Ankara attended by representatives of the Turkish  Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), the Turkish Naval Command, the  Turkish Coast Guard Command, the local contractors involved in the programme – TAI, Aselsan, Havelsan and Milsoft – the French defence procurement agency (DGA)  and the French embassy in Ankara.

Thales is prime contractor for the Meltem II programme, which calls for  delivery of six maritime patrol aircraft for the Turkish Navy  and three maritime surveillance  aircraft for the Turkish Coast Guard. The aircraft are based on modified  CASA CN-235 platforms. The programme also includes the provision of 10  additional maritime patrol systems for integration on ATR 72 aircraft in service  with the Turkish Navy. Seven of these have already been delivered to the SSM.  The 19 mission systems are based on Thales’s AMASCOS solution (Airborne MAritime  Situation & Control System).

The four initial standard aircraft underwent significant modifications to  accommodate the mission system and have completed airworthiness qualification by  the DGA in France. Turkish Navy pilots and aircrews have been trained with the  new aircraft and mission systems and performed a series of test flights covering  a range of operational mission profiles: surveillance, search and rescue, target  designation, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine  warfare. On the basis of these test flights, the aircraft have been accepted  into operational service.

The initial standard aircraft provide the Turkish Navy with an operational  maritime patrol capability.

Mr Yakup TAŞDELEN, Department Head in SSM, said: “this delivery marks a true  milestone in the development of our maritime patrol capability. The Turkish Navy  can now rely on Thales state-of-the art solution to conduct their mission.”

Pierre Eric Pommellet emphasised: “the climate of confidence and dedication  which drove Thales and its partners during the last couple of years and which  made possible the delivery of a solution tailored to the operational need of our  customer.” Pommellet added “Thales is now looking forward to delivering the next  systems to the Navy and to the Coast Guard.”

This success marks a major milestone in the Meltem II programme and is a  further endorsement of the high level of maturity of the AMASCOS solution. It  consolidates Thales’s market leadership in maritime patrol systems and its  positioning as a world-class systems supplier and integrator offering a wide  range of mission systems to meet the specific requirements of forces around the  world.

Designed around a latest-generation integrated tactical command system, the  AMASCOS solution ties together multiple sensors – radar, FLIR, ESM, acoustic  system, AIS, MAD, SLAR radar, IR/UV scanner – to detect, identify and track  threats, maintain real-time tactical situation awareness, manage NATO and  national tactical datalinks and deploy onboard weapon systems.


Hollywood to showcase Turkish guns

This is the UTS 15 rifle that will be used in the Hollywood action films.

Turkey’s Utaş Makine Sanayii has signed a deal with an American distributor in Hollywood for its UTS 15 rifle to be used in Hollywood action film productions, according to daily Zaman.

The UTS 15 rifle has already been used in the joint American-Canadian science fiction television show Fringe. Eight UTS 15 rifles will also be used in an upcoming film produced by Universal Pictures in Canada starring Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington. Another film to be shot in Thailand will also use the rifle. Utaş Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Güzeldere said that although the film production team could not purchase a large quantity of rifles, the film still provided a good platform through which to showcase the weapon.

Utaş exports to 25 countries including America, Germany, England, Canada and Kuwait. It is also planning to start selling to Russia and Ukraine. “We sent our first shipment of rifles last week to the U.S. … We expect to sell 25,000 guns in the American market,” said Güzeldere, adding that they planned to sell to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Police Department.


Lockheed Martin remains sole bidder for new frigates

U.S. defense industry giant Lockheed Martin has been left as the only bidder in the $3 billion project for the joint manufacture of six frigates for the Turkish navy after Ankara rejected the remaining contender BAE Systems’ proposal.

The project, however, may still not be awarded to Lockheed Martin if an agreement cannot be reached on the technical aspects of missile integration. Such an eventuality would cause the project to be shelved and then reshaped.

The long-delayed project envisions the TF-2000 frigate as a regional anti-air warfare vessel that would respond to aerial threats and also provide support functions such as command control, communication, reconnaissance and early warning. It would be bigger, heavier and more efficient in terms of war capacity than the vessels the navy has today.

The Defense Ministry last month sent a letter informing their British counterparts that Turkey was “no longer interested” in BAE Systems’ offer, an official familiar with the tender told the Hürriyet Daily News.

BAE is currently working on a new type of frigate, Type 26, which is internationally known as the Global Combat Ship (GCS). “BAE has already started the project. It was late to join. Our needs would have increased the cost. Or we would have had to review our requirements in accordance with the British Navy, but our requirements are different. BAE had also asked for a ‘license fee.’ The partnership offer would have become a model in which Turkey was financing BAE’s project,” the source told the Daily News.

Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretary of Defense Industries (SSM), has come close to formally selecting Lockheed Martin, but it needs to hear the Turkish Navy’s decision on the choice of missile systems, which is the most critical part of the project. The ship will be designed according to the missile systems, because of their enormous weight.

Missile Issue

Selecting the Lockheed SM2 missile system would simplify everything, as it is not heavy. The SM3 system would mean more negotiations on many aspects. It has a wider range, which means that the system would overlap with some of the Air Forces’ air defense duty. Missile integration is another subject to be solved.

Lockheed uses AN/SPY1 radar, while Turkish company Aselsan has started working on a smaller system called Multifunctional Phased Array Radar project (ÇAFRAD). Lockheed Martin has a Ship Integrated War Administration System called Aegis, which includes the AN/SPY1 radar, but Turkish Havelsan has already manufactured a smaller version called Genesis. Turkey wants ÇAFRAD to be inserted into AN/SPY1, Genesis to replace Aegis, and this combination to be integrated with the SM3 system.

If the two sides fail to resolve the missile integration question, then a second option will be considered. Turkey has successfully manufactured a corvette under the so-called Milgem project.

Milgem would be re-designed to manufacture a light frigate for air defense warfare and would be named TF100. “We have to develop something based on Milgem or we will waste all our know-how,” an industry source said.