A Comprehensive Overview of the Turkish Defence Industry: Full Report

The Turkish defence sector has followed a path of steady but significant growth since 1985, the year of the foundation of the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), Turkey’s defence procurement agency. Established with the aim of modernising the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and nurturing the growth of a national defence sector, the SSM has successfully developed policies and carried out programmes to this end since its foundation.

Turkey's first national main battle tank (MBT) prototype Altay, built by Otokar based on technology transfer from South Korea.

Prior to the 1990s Turkey’s defence procurement model was based mainly on direct procurement (off-the-shelf purchases), however as a result of the SSM’s efforts and policies in support of local industries, the procurement model of Turkey underwent a gradual but significant change throughout the 1990s to co-production, and finally during the last decade to local production (i.e., developing its own designs) and system integration. Thanks to policies in support of local industries the number of Turkish companies operating in the defence sector has also witnessed a marked increase, especially since 2000.

In parallel to the development of the defence sector, the workforce of in Turkey’s defence companies is also increasing steadily, and every year more and more young and talented people are joining the pool. According to Defence Industrial Manufacturers Association (SaSaD) figures, as of November 2010 there were 718 (+ around 1,000 sub-industry companies) public corporations (military factories and government controlled companies), private companies and foreign partnerships in the country, employing some 41,000 staff (including 10,978 engineers and 6,689 technicians).

SaSaD’s Defence Industry Sector Report Figures

According to the Defence Industry Sector Report prepared by SaSaD through the evaluation of figures obtained from its member companies (SaSaD currently has 120 defence companies under its umbrella) and issued in April 2011, the Turkish defence sector achieved a US$2.7 Billion (TL4.1 Billion) turnover in 2010 (representing a 18% increase from 2009 in US$ figures). This figure covers only direct sales to TAF and other armed forces around the world, and does not include indirect sales by contractors. In 2009, revenue from the Turkish defence sector was US$2.3 Billion (TL 3.6 Billion), of which some 27% has been realised in the defence electronics sector; the aerospace sector and the weapons, ammunition, rocket and missile sector realising 18% each; 13% in the naval platforms sector, 12% in the land platforms sector and 12% from other defence-related activities.

Although the Turkish defence sector saw an 18% increase in revenues in US$ figures due to global financial crises, defence sales have decreased by 5% from 2009 (US$669 Million down to US$634 Million). However, since civil aviation exports achieved a 35% increase in 2010 and reached US$219 Million (US$169 Million in 2009) Turkey’s defence and aerospace sales in total witnessed a 16% increase in 2010 (US$732 Million in 2009). Breaking down the export figures, 31% was realised by the aerospace sector, 19% by the weapons, ammunition, rocket and missile sector, 19% by the land platforms sector, 13% by the defence electronics sector, 6% by the naval platforms sector, and 11% from other defence-related exports. According to SaSaD’s survey, the United States is the recipient of the majority (36%) of Turkish defence exports, followed by the Europe (26%), Middle East (19%), Far East (13%), Africa (4%) and South America (1%). According to the Ministry of National Defence (MoND), the share of domestic procurements has increased from 45.7% (in 2009) to an average of 52.1% in 2010. As indicated in the 2007–2011 Strategic Plan prepared by the SSM, defence and aviation exports should increased to US$1 Billion in 2011. The SSM has also targeted an increase in turnover per employee in the defence sector to US$250,000. All estimates show that the Turkish defence sector has grown further in 2010 and should achieve 2011 targets without any problem. In its 2011–2016 Strategic Plan the SSM has a target of increasing the existing defence export figure to US$2 billion by 2016.

Importance of R&D in the Expansion of the Indigenous Defence Product Portfolio

As a result of the efforts and policies implemented by the SSM, the last decade witnessed a dramatic transformation in Turkey’s approach to the modernisation of its armed forces and its domestic defence industrial capabilities, with R&D projects playing a crucial role in the rapid growth of the Turkish defence sector. The Turkish defence industry product portfolio currently contains over 250 different products and systems, mostly designed, developed and produced by Turkish companies through R&D programmes, and mainly funded by the MoND/SSM and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TüBiTAK). In order to reduce the defence sector’s external dependence on critical subsystems, components and technologies determined in line with the requirements of TAF, the SSM and MoND have allocated considerable financial resources (about US$50 million annually) for technology-intensive R&D activities to improve the country’s technological infrastructure. For this purpose the SSM has prepared and issued a Defence R&D Road Map for the optimisation of allocated resources and has determined and prioritised R&D projects in line with the needs and objectives of the main system projects that will involve collaborations among industries, universities and research organisations.

In line with a decision of the Supreme Council of Science and Technology to gradually increase the R&D/GNP ratio to the EU level of 2% by the end of 2013, significant funds from the national budget have been allocated to R&D activities, starting in 2005, to be used in coordination with TüBiTAK. R&D projects being realised with the aid of these funds help in the production and accumulation of technology, and consequently increasing the ratio of locally produced equipment to satisfy TAF’s needs. According to Undersecretary Murad BAYAR, as of June 2010 the total value of ongoing TüBiTAK-funded Defence and Aerospace R&D projects is US$ 242 million, and the total value of the 19 TüBiTAK R&D projects that have already been funded is US$157 million. The total value of DISF-funded defence R&D projects is US$ 85 million. MoND M. Vecdi GÖNÜLhas disclosed that during last two years 15 defence related R&D projects have been completed and currently a total of 77 R&D projects are being carried out. According to SaSaD’s 2010 Defence Industry Sector Report, in 2010 Turkish defence industries allocated a total of US$666 Million for their R&D programmes, US$113 Million of which was met from their own resources. Prof. Mehmet AYDIN, Turkish Minister of State in charge of Science, Technology and Information (also covering TüBiTAK), says that the Security Technologies Research Group (SAVTAG) of TüBiTAK had so far provided a total of TL561 million (around US$370 million) to support 47 R&D projects in the field of defence, and that 16 of them had already been completed, with the products entering into the service of TAF.

SSM Runs Defence Projects Valued at US$54 Billion

Accepted by many authorities as an emerging force in the global defence sector, Turkish defence industries have developed with remarkable progress in many areas over last decade, and Turkey is steadily increasing its efforts to become a self-reliant power when it comes to meeting the defence systems requirements of TAF. Today, Turkish defence industries are aiming to increase the existing defence export figure to US$ 1 billion in 2011 and US$ 2 billion by 2016, and are mature enough to meet most of the requirements of TAF, as well as those of its allies and friendly nations. Alongside R&D projects, the SSM is currently working on over 250 defence projects in the land, air, sea, electronic and rocket/missile areas. According to MoND M. Vecdi GÖNÜL the total value of defence projects that have already been contracted, most of which are about to be completed, is US$28 billion, while the total value of SSM projects, including those launched in recent months and the F-35 Lightning II JSF stands at over US$52 billion. Undersecretary Murad BAYAR has stated that 24% of the ongoing contracted defence projects are being realised domestically, 57% under joint production, 10% under direct procurement and 9% under consortium project models.

The Role of Offsets in Turkish Defence and Aerospace Exports

Two decades ago Turkey relied heavily on imports to satisfy its defence procurement needs, but over the last decade the Turkish defence sector has rapidly developed local capabilities to become a prime exporter as well. Turkish defence sector companies are now in a position to compete in international defence markets and have an impressive track record in orders from abroad for their state-of-the-art, NATO-standard and cost-effective products. The SSM has been able to sell internationally many of the Turkish defence sector developed and produced to meet TAF’s requirements.

Within the scope of defence projects, the transactions that will be executed to use the production potential and capabilities of local industry, to increase the competitiveness of the local industry in the international markets and to provide technological cooperation, investment and R&D opportunities, are defined as Industrial Participation/Offset. According to SSM documents, in 2009 58.4% of civil aviation exports and 41.3% of defence exports were generated under the offset obligations of foreign contractors. The share of offsets in civil aviation exports has been decreasing gradually since 2006, from 94.7% in 2006, 93.8% in 2007 and 60.7% in 2008, according to SSM figures. On the other hand, the share of offsets has been increasing in defence exports, up from 37% in 2006 to 45% in 2007 and 38.8% in 2008. According to the SSM figures (disclosed in October 2010) the total value of defence and aerospace exports so far generated under offset obligations is US$ 3 billion.

The recently announced figures show that foreign contractors have undertaken a total of US$13.3 Billion in offset commitments (covering both direct and indirect offsets) in projects executed between 1985 and 2010, of which US$5.3 Billion had been realised by the end of 2010. Further, there have been around US$8 billion-worth of offset credits for use only in the defence and aerospace fields. Offsets are one of the instruments used by the SSM to establish long-term and permanent cooperations between Turkish and foreign defence industry companies.

The Role of DISF in Turkish Defence Procurement

The majority of the SSM budget is being met from sources transferred from the Defence Industry Support Fund (DISF), which is totally independent from the MoND budget and is one of the most important financial resources for TAF projects. The DISF figures for 2010 have been recently disclosed by MoND M. Vecdi GÖNÜL, who states that during 2010, for the funding of defence projects carried out by the SSM, a total of US$1.8 Billion had been transferred from the DISF and over US$674 Million from the MoND budget. According to GÖNÜL, the DISF achieved US$138 Million in revenues in 2010 and has a total of US$3.96 Billion worth of assets from the Treasury.

New Export Strategy and Defence Industry Cooperation Offices

Since its foundation, one of the SSM’s goals has been to increase the levels of Turkey’s arms exports so as to raise its arms industrial base to a higher level. For the last four years, Turkey’s defence and aerospace exports have shown a continuous increase. According to SSM figures, the Turkish defence sector’s defence and aerospace exports totalled US$ 486.9 million in 2006, US$ 615.4 million in 2007, US$ 783.9 million in 2008 and US$ 830.8 Million in 2009. In parallel to the development of the Turkish defence sector and the expansion of the exportable indigenous product portfolio, starting from 2008 the SSM has revised its export strategy and taken new steps to boost exports and the performance of the local companies in international tenders. As part of its new export strategy the SSM has decided to open Defence Industry Cooperation Offices in the Middle East, North Africa, the Far East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, which have been selected as priority target areas for the export of Turkish defence products, to follow ongoing local defence tenders and inform relevant Turkish defence companies, and to act as a liaison office, arranging contacts between local authorities and Turkish companies. The SSM opened the first Defence Industry Cooperation Office in the United States in October 2010 inWashington DC; while the second office opened on 1 March, 2011 in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. During a Turkey-Saudi Arabia Industry Day event, held March 1–4, the official opening ceremony was attended by MoND Vecdi GÖNÜL, Undersecretary Murad BAYAR, Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) General Manager Lt. Gen. (Ret) Hayrettin UZUN and representatives from Turkish defence companies. The SSM has a plan to open similar offices also in Qatar (to follow the Middle East market), Malaysia/Indonesia (to follow the Far East market), Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan (to follow the Caucasian and Central Asian markets) and Brussels (to follow European and NATO-related projects) in the coming months.

The SSM attaches great importance to international cooperation and supports the participation of Turkish companies in joint or international procurement programmes. As a specialised department of the SSM, the International Cooperation Department (ICD) acts on behalf of the Undersecretariat in to boost collaborations in defence procurement programmes and industrial networking activities. As part of its strategy to encourage the Turkish defence sector to establish joint ventures and partnerships with foreign companies, the ICD has been organising numerous company visits for foreign delegations at all levels from many nations, and arranging government-to-government workshops to look at opportunities for cooperation between Turkish and foreign industries.

In this context, in cooperation with the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), SSM ICD organised a Turkish Naval Industry Inward Mission on 7–11 February, 2011 to explore opportunities for cooperation in the naval sector between Turkey and the United Kingdom. With attendance by representatives of companies located in Portsmouth, Bristol and London, the Turkish Naval Inward Mission event was attended by the SSM, Turkish Naval Forces Command, MoND and 17 representatives of Turkish defence and naval companies. On 10 February, UKTI DSO hosted a conference in London attended by 38 UK companies, including 23 SMEs. During Prime Minister David CAMERON’s visit to Ankara in July last year a Strategic Partnership Agreement, aiming to boost bilateral trade and defence was signed between the UK and Turkey. On March 1–4, in cooperation with SaSaD, the ICD organised a “Turkey-Saudi Arabia Industry Day” event at the Riyadh Radisson Hotel with the participation ofMoND GÖNÜL, Saudi Arabia’s Commerce and Industry Minister Dr. Abdullah Ahmed Zainal RIZA, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled Bin SULTAN, Undersecretary BAYAR and other high ranking officials from MoND and the SSM, as well as 58 representatives from 34 Turkish defence sector companies. In the course of the event, the capabilities and solutions of the Turkish defence companies were displayed in an exhibition hall at the Riyadh Radisson Hotel Convention Centre. During bilateral meetings, the parties expressed their willingness to go beyond the sale of of-the-shelf products and to establish joint ventures, and to cooperate in co-production and co-design programmes.

  • LAND PLATFORMS SECTOR

Turkish defence companies are prominent in the manufacture of wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles, and are seeking new businesses that will double their current export figures, with the Middle East, Far East, Africa and Central Asia identified as privileged markets for locally produced armoured vehicles. The land platforms sector is the most successful in the Turkish defence market in terms of exports. Realising 12% of the turnover and 19% of the total defence exports in 2010. Turkey has traditionally looked to domestic suppliers to meet TAF’s land platforms requirements, enabling the sector to develop a comprehensive range of products that includes tactical wheeled vehicles (4×4, 6×6 and 6×4), tactical wheeled armoured vehicles (4×4, 6×6 and 8×8), armoured reconnaissance vehicles (tracked and wheeled), armoured internal security vehicles, mine-protected vehicles, a mobile floating assault bridge, riot control vehicles, an amphibious armoured combat earthmover, armoured combat vehicles and the ALTAY Main Battle Tank (MBT), as well as modernisation and upgrade solutions for APCs, ACVs and MBTs.

The backbone of the Turkish land platforms sector is formed by private companies such as Otokar, BMC, Nurol Makina and Hema Industries, as well as FNSS (a private company with a foreign partner), which also undertakes the lion’s share in turnover and exports. Military factories operated by the Turkish Land Forces, such as 1st Main Maintenance Centre in Adapazarı and the 2nd Main Maintenance Centre Command in Kayseri, are mainly taking a role in Main Battle Tank Modernisation projects such as the Leopard 1T and M60T programmes, and providing maintenance services for the tracked and wheeled vehicles in the service of the Turkish Land Forces (TLF).

The total value of the export contracts secured by leading companies FNSS and Otokar during last 6 months are valued at around US$ 1 billion, including a US$324 million M113 modernisation contract (to upgrade aging M113 vehicles into the M113A4/ACV350 APC configuration) signed between FNSS and Saudi Arabia in November 2010, and a US$600 million contract signed on February 22, 2011 between FNSS and DEFTECH of Malaysia at the FNSS facilities in Ankara for the design, development, production and logistical support of 257 wheeled armoured combat vehicles, to be based on the PARS 8×8 configuration, for the Malaysian Land Forces. Otokar, on the other hand, received a US$10.6 million contract from an undisclosed Gulf country in December 2010 for the delivery of an undisclosed number of ARMA 6×6 tactical armoured vehicles, to be armed with a 20mm cannon. Otokar also finalised its export sale negotiations with Azerbaijan in December and signed a US$30 million contract for the delivery of an undisclosed number of Cobra 4×4 wheeled armoured vehicles in four different configurations, includingWeapon Platform Vehicles, 4×4 Armoured Patrol Vehicles (APV) in ambulance and personnel carrier configurations and tactical vehicles in various configurations, including field workshop vehicles. The company has also secured a new export contract valued at US$9.3 million from an undisclosed country in early April 2011 for the delivery of an undisclosed number of 4×4 Armoured Patrol Vehicles (APV).

  • NAVAL PLATFORMS SECTOR

Having a strong heritage of ship building back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has been moving ahead with ambitious plans to develop its domestic naval industrial capabilities. The country has already built up a capability for naval construction in the state-owned naval shipyards, starting in the 1970s, and the Turkish military shipbuilding sector is now offering diverse solutions at system and subsystem levels to meet the operational requirements of the Turkish Navy and Coast Guard. Over the last decade the Turkish naval ship building sector has achieved considerable success and is now ready to compete in the international markets with its indigenous solutions such as MilGem, New Type Patrol Boat, LCT and MRTP Series Fast Intervention Boats. As a significant example of the successful cooperation and interaction between the Turkish Navy and Turkish defence industries, the MilGem (National Ship) Project represents a milestone in the development of Turkey’s indigenous capability to design, build and integrate naval vessels.

In parallel with the SSM’s efforts to restructure the Turkish naval sector by combining the existing know-how and expertise of the naval shipyards and the Turkish Navy with the capabilities and competency of the commercial private ship building sector, the country’s private shipyards are becoming more and more prominent. During the last couple of years the total value of contracts awarded to local private sector shipyards is about US$ 2 billion. Dearsan Shipyard, for example, received a Euro402 million contract for the construction of 16 New Type Patrol Boats (NTPBs) for the Turkish Navy; ADIK Shipyard secured a Euro 99.7 million contract to deliver eight Landing Craft Tank (LCT) vessels; RMK Marine Shipyard received a Euro352.5 million contract for the delivery of four corvette-size Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR)/Patrol vessels; Istanbul Shipyard received a Euro18.52 Million contract for the modernisation of four SAR-35 Class Coast Guard boats; and Yonca Onuk was awarded a Euro8.67 million contract to construct two (+two optional) SAT Boats for the Turkish Navy. Private sector shipyards will also take part in the ongoing multi-billion dollar major surface warship programmes, including those for the Landing Ship Tank (LST) (for the construction of two 7.125 tonne displacement vessels ADIK Shipyard has been selected, and contract negotiations are ongoing);, Landing Platform Dock (LPD), Mo-Ship/RaTShip (Istanbul Shipyard has been selected, and contract negotiations are ongoing), Fleet Replenishment Ship, Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), TF-2000 Air Defence Destroyer, TF-100 Multi-role Frigate, Turkish Type Assault Boats and Mine Hunting Vessels. Golcuk Naval Shipyard is and will remain as Turkey’s only shipyard with submarine construction capabilities, as the SSM does not envisage the transition of that particular expertise into private sector shipyards.

Starting in 2012, Golcuk Naval Shipyard will construct six Type 214TN Class AIP submarines and to carry out the modernisation of two Type 209 Class diesel-electric submarines (TCG Doğanay [S-351] and TCG Dolunay [S-352]) in TNF service. According to Serdar DEMIREL, Head of the Naval Platforms Department of the SSM, the Turkish naval sector amassed close to US$ 500 Million during the last period and the total contract volume of the 14 ongoing platform programmes soon with the signing of a formal contract. The total value of the sale is expected to be in the region of US$ 120 million.

The first vessels in the MilGem, NTPB, LCT and CG SAR/Patrol Vessel programmes, namely TCG Heybeliada (F-511), P1200 Tuzla, Ç-151 and TCSG Dost (701), have made their first appearance at the IDEF‘11 Exhibition in May.

  • AEROSPACE SECTOR

Realizing 18% of the revenue and 31% of the total defence exports in 2010, the aerospace sector is the second largest contributor in the Turkish defence sector, having realized US$219 Million worth of civil aviation exports in 2010. Taking into consideration the global economic contraction in 2009 due to the financial crisis, it is impressive that the sector has seen renewed growth in 2010. Civil aviation sales and exports in the Turkish aerospace sector are expected to increase in 2011. The backbone of the Turkish Aerospace Sector is formed by state-owned (TAFF) companies TAI and TEI, which also contribute the lion’s share in turnover and export figures. According to figures disclosed by the companies, in 2010 TAI realised US$572 million revenues (with US$90 million operating profit) and US$ 220 million export sales, whereas TEI realised US$275 million worth of sales, of which US$155 million was from exports. However, opportunities are also emerging for private companies such as Alp Aviation (a joint venture between the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and the Alpata Group of Turkey), KaleKalıp/Kale Aero, Baykar Makina and Vestel Defence Industry. Military factories of the Turkish Air Force (TuAF), such as 1st Air Supply and Maintenance Centre Command in Eskisehir, and 2nd Air Supply and Maintenance Centre Command in Kayseri are mainly taking roles in modernisation projects such as the F-16C/D, F-4E 2020, F-5 2000, F-4E/TM (SIMSEK), RF-4E/TM (ISIK), T-38M (ARI) and C-130B/E (ERCIYES) programmes, and is providing maintenance/overhaul services to the fighter/bomber and transport aircraft. On the other hand, 3rd Air Supply and Maintenance Command, located in Ankara, provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services to avionics and the land-based radar and missile systems in TuAF’s service.

The initiative to establish an aerospace industry in Turkey is almost as old as the Republic itself, however these initiatives have had limited success in the past. Many authorities accept that the foundation of TAI in May 1984 to manufacture and assemble F-16C/D aircraft in Turkey and TEI in December 1984, to manufacture and assemble General Electric F-110-GE-100/129 jet engines, was an important milestone in the development of Turkey’s indigenous capability to design, build and integrate military aircraft and engines. TAI and TEI have developed their capabilities over the years, and have now begun participating in international military and civilian aerospace projects as well as their respective engine programmes, including F-35 JSF, F136, A400M, TP400, Boeing 747-8, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, GEnx and Airbus A350 XWB. TEI now carries out parts production and the assembly of jet engines for military aircraft operated by TAF and NATO, working in collaboration with the TuAF’s Air Supply and Maintenance Centres. Aiming to be an OEM-approved MRO centre for F110 engines with the support of its partner and shareholder General Electric, TEI is currently focusing on the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of F110 engines in the regional countries. In this context, the company follows closely the regional F110 engine users and is in negotiation with several of them, including Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

TAI currently performs modernisation, modification and systems integration programmes and after sales support of both the fixed- and rotary-wing military and commercial aircraft in the inventory of Turkey and its friendly countries. In this context, TAI has been selected as the Prime Contractor for the avionic modernisation programmes of the C-130B/E transport aircraft (dubbed ERCIYES) and the T-38M jet training aircraft (dubbed ARI) in the inventory of TuAF. The major modernisation programmes include the Glass Cockpit modification of the Turkish Black Hawk helicopters; the electronic warfare retrofit and structural modifications to TuAF’s F-16s; Falcon Star and Mid-Life Upgrade modifications of the F-16s in the inventory of the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) and the Pakistani Air Force (PAF); the structural modification of CN-235 platforms for MPA/MSA missions for the Turkish Navy and Coast Guard; the structural modification ofATR-72 platforms for the Turkish Navy; as well as structural modification and systems integration activities required for the conversion of B737-700 aircraft into AEW&C aircraft. The company also participates as a partner in the global-scale F-35 andA400M design and development programmes. In this context TAI has been selected by Northrop Grumman as a second source for the manufacture of Air Inlet Ducts and Centre Fuselages for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Under the programme TAI will manufacture 400 complete Centre Fuselages in Turkey, while deliveries of the TAI-produced Air Inlet Ducts have been launched in March 2011 and the Centre Fuselages are scheduled to begin in 2013 as part the F-35’s LRIP-5 phase. Aside from TAI and TEI, the Alp Aviation and KaleKalıp/Kale Aero companies are also taking part in F-35 programme, producing parts for both the aircraft and the F135 engine. Being a shareholder in Airbus Military SL as the National Industrial Institution, TAI has been participating in the design and development activities of the A400M with leading European aerospace companies. Under the A400M programme, TAI is delivering the Forward Centre Fuselage of the aircraft and has completed delivery of first of three units, and shipped them to the assembly line in Bremen onboard an Airbus Beluga aircraft in January.

The Turkish aviation sector has achieved remarkable progress, especially in the last decade, and as Turkey’s top decision making body on defence industrial procurement, the Defence Industry Executive Committee (DIEC), believing that the company is mature enough to develop an indigenous fighter and trainer aircraft, tasked the SSM in December 2010 with opening negotiations with TAI for the indigenous development of an new generation fighter/interceptor (T-X) with stealth features and state-of-the-art avionics to replace TuAF’s existing F-4Es and F-16 Block 30 aircraft, and a jet trainer (T-X) to replace the existing T-38 and F-5 2000 aircraft by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Under the T-X and F-X Programmes, TAI will be awarded a contract by SSM in the coming days for the Conceptual Development Phase. TAI has also been tasked by DIEC to develop an indigenous avionic suit solution for the F-16C/D Block 30 aircraft in the inventory of TuAF, which will include locally developed Mission Computers, OFP software and avionics. In this context, TuAF will be sending one F-16 Block 30 aircraft to TAI during next few months, on which TAI will perform the modifications as a prototype. The first flight is scheduled for 2014, and delivery in 2015. If the prototype passes the tests then TAI will perform, in cooperation with 1st ASMC, the modernisation of the remaining 36 Block 30 F-16s by 2019. Along with these recently launched programmes, TAI, as a Prime Contractor, is also developing the Anka (Phoenix) MALE UAV, a Turkish Light Utility Helicopter, the GökTürk II EO Satellite, the Simsek (Lightning) Jet-Powered Target Drone and the Sivrisinek (Mosquito) Rotary Wing UAV. The company is also carrying out the local production and system integration of T129 attack helicopters for the Turkish Land Forces under an AgustaWestland license. TAI will also perform parts manufacturing and assembly of 109 T70 Black Hawk (Sikorsky Aircraft), an 8-tonne, twin-engine medium class utility helicopter, selected under the US$3.5 Billion valued Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme in April 2011. The total number of the helicopters to be manufactured/assembled at TAI facilities are expected to reach 600 during the next 20 years.

According to SSM figures, the Fixed Wing Aircraft Department and the Helicopter Department have been working on 35 projects, including 11 helicopter projects, valued at over US$ 30 billion, covering both domestic and foreign procurements. According to SSM figures, the total value of the currently contracted 31 air platform projects, including large-scale helicopter programmes such as the T129 Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance, CH-47F Chinook Heavy Lift and S-70B SeaHawk Naval Helicopter projects, is around TL 19.3 billion (around US$13 Billion, and excluding TUHP project cost). The SSM is expected to finalise the ongoing multi-billion dollar fixed- and rotary-wing air platform projects in the coming years, including the F-35A Lightning II (expected to cost around US$ 16 Billion) programme.

SD – TR Defence

 

Russian Ballistic Submarine Yekaterinburg Launches SLBM Sineva

Russian northern fleet submarine Yekaterinburg is a 2nd generation Delfin nuclear-powered platform capable of launching long-range ballistic missiles.

Northern Fleet (NF) nuclear-powered ballistic submarine (SSBN) Yekaterinburg on May 17 successfully launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Sineva from the Barents Sea against Kura test range located in Kamchatka, said an official spokesman for Russian defense ministry.

The submarine’s commanding officer is Capt 1 rank Igor Stepanenko.

“The launch was carried out from underwater position in accordance with reliability verification plan of maritime nuclear forces. Combat modules of the missile arrived in the range at the stated time”, said the military official.

According to him, the submarine’s crew displayed complete professionalism and high skills during the training task.

RSM-54 Sineva (on NATO classification SS-N-23 Skiff) is Russian three-staged liquid-fueled missile designed for 3rd generation submarines. It was commissioned on July 9, 2007. It is used by missile system D-9RMU2 placed in Project 667BDRM Delfin nuclear-powered submarines.

Sineva‘s flight range is over 10,000 km.

Previous training launch of SLBM Sineva was held late in Oct 2010 by SSBN Bryansk from the Barents Sea against Kura range, Kamchatka. The launch was successful.

Rusnavy

Russia to train Turkish scientists in nuclear, space tech


Vladimir Ivanovskiy

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey Vladimir Ivanovskiy has said Russia will not only build a planned nuclear plant but will also train and educate Turks since in time the project will need a substantial number of experts and qualified people to run it. He also says the plan is to further technology sharing in such other areas as space science.
 
The Turkish government’s zero-problem with neighbors policy has borne fruit with the Russian Federation as the two countries’ cooperation in a variety of areas has seen unprecedentedly high levels in recent years. The visa waiver decision, which went into effect last month and means that people from both sides for the first time are able to cross their respective borders without needing a visa, marks the pinnacle for such close cooperation between the two powerful neighbors in the region.

In an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman Ambassador Ivanovskiy said during the high-level negotiations in nuclear talks between Russia and Turkey that the idea of establishing nuclear and space science academies where Russians will educate Turkish scientists has emerged. “For the project to be a complete success we need hundreds of people who can speak both languages,” he says, adding that both Turkey and Russia should think in practical terms, economically and socially, in order to figure out how the two could engage further.

Ivanovskiy also said interest in learning Russian in Turkey is on the rise. According to the ambassador, in February, an intergovernmental Society Forum was established to promote cooperation in nine areas. One of them is education, he said. “Turkish and Russian universities can cooperate, and we can even establish faculties in either Russia or Turkey, operated jointly, to further our cooperation in the educational field,” he explained

According to Ivanovskiy, marriages between Turks and Russians are on the rise as well. Male spouses are mostly from Turkey and female spouses are from Russia in such marriages, he said, drawing attention to the increasing number of children from those marriages who can speak both languages fluently and who, according to Ivanovskiy, are the fundamental base for a mutual future for both countries.

‘I heard about the crazy project 15 years ago from Erdoğan’

“I heard about the project 15 years ago from then Mayor Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, when I was consul general of Russia in İstanbul,” Ivanovskiy said in response to a question about the canal project. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s “crazy project” of adding another strait to İstanbul seemed a bit far-fetched to the ambassador when he first heard about it back then. “I thought it was going to be a long time for Turkey in order for such projects to materialize, yet 15 years later Turkey has developed into a nation where such projects are now believable,” he says, adding that is has taught him to “never say never” when it comes to Turkey.

Ivanovskiy says further that people need to wait until all the details emerge in order to be able to make a comprehensive assessment of the project. He points to the fact that it has not only an economic aspect but also an international legal side. Economic feasibility and the implications of the Montreux Convention should all be taken into consideration carefully, he advises.

“Deep and thorough analyses need to be done by all parties who will be involved in it — transport actors, legal experts, military people, contractors, producers who might be involved in the project — so we need to collect all the information to provide a conclusion on it. This is not only the issue for the Black Sea littoral states but also for other parties who use the straits. For example, the companies who use the straits for oil and liquefied gas transportation, container and shipping companies, a lot of actors are involved, and we need time to collect all the necessary information to be able to give an accurate assessment of the project,” Ivanovskiy said.

When Today’s Zaman was the first newspaper to break the story several months ago, sources also told Today’s Zaman that even Russia was interested in building and operating this channel. Responding to this, Ivanovskiy says in all the negotiations he took part in on the transportation of Russian oil and gas via pipeline and rail, the idea of this channel as a means of oil and gas transportation was not on the agenda. “This is my frank confession to you,” the Russian ambassador admitted.

Regarding the safety concerns of the Turkish side about the Bosporus he says Russia also shares those concerns for safety. “In my youth I graduated from naval school, and I used to travel on tankers, and at that time at night in 1968 to reach the oceans of the world you needed to travel through straits and, of course, the Bosporus. And while passing [through] the straits we could hear the announcements on the side of the straits that here a vessel crashed at this time, here another vessel crashed at another time. Of course, there are dangers, and we realize the dangers. And, of course, we share the Turkish side’s concerns related to the safety of the straits.”

‘Economic cooperation fully corresponds with political one’

When Today’s Zaman mentioned the criticism of some media outlets concerning political cooperation that does not correspond to the economic cooperation between Russia and Turkey, Ambassador Ivanovskiy voiced disagreement. He explained that there is mutual cooperation in both the economic and political relationship, which are interrelated and influence each other positively.

“I would start with mutual trust between Russia and Turkey; we manage to build mutual trust, which was broken between the two countries for many decades. The next thing would be mutual respect for mutual interests. And even when I report to my leadership on Russia and Turkey I always say that I see it in the perspective of 10 to 15 years on issues which will bind for the two countries; of course, this view of mine is not only shared here in Turkey but in my country as well,” he noted.

The ambassador also mentioned a number of correlating issues both for Russia and Turkey on their respective agendas. The development of the region is one issue where the two sides have managed to organize seven meetings from January until June of this year alone at the level of high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials on consultations concerning regional issues. “Not to mention the meetings between the two ministers,” he said. According to Ivanovskiy, during such meetings wide-ranging discussions take place, from diplomacy to security issues.

‘Turkey and Russia do not want foreign intervention in Syria’

As a more specific example of close cooperation at the political level, Russian Ambassador Ivanovskiy says both Turkey and Russia are opposed to foreign intervention in Syria. He explains that there is constant information-sharing at all levels on the Syrian issue between Russia and Turkey.

The ambassador also indicated that the movements in Libya, Syria, the Middle East and North Africa might be motivated by internal dynamics, but he is worried that it might be hijacked by external powers, creating more instability and even leading to civil war. “I can say that all foreign attempts such as the color revolutions or twitter revolutions do not always lead to the wished-for results,” Ivanovskiy said.

Situation in the Balkans

When asked about the situation in the Balkans, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular, Ambassador Ivanovskiy says it is another area where Turkey and Russia are negotiating. He says the situation should be resolved within its natural course and not by outside intervention. Without a three-state formation and without taking into account the interests of all related parties there will be never peace in the region, and if the EU wants to get involved they can, but we should not impose anything on the parties, he explains.

Energy relationship

The energy relationship with Russia is another important area where Turkey and Russia could further relations. Russia is the number one natural gas supplier to Turkey, whose energy demand is on the rise in conjunction with its fast-growing economy. Ivanovskiy says Russia is fully aware of such needs and that they are willing to accommodate them fully. Speaking of the Blue Stream pipeline project, he says he was in Samsun 10 days ago and that they are working on utilizing the pipeline to its full capacity. According to Ivanovskiy, in two months there will be some test runs to try the pipelines at full capacity.

Regarding Nabucco, he said Russia does not see any problems. “Of course, there is always going to be competition that we cannot avoid; yet, we plan to meet demand through South Stream, and Nabucco has its own participants on the project,” he added. He also stated that Turkey would soon know all the details of the Blue Stream Project with regard to detailed layout map of the pipes n the seabed as well as environmental impact studies.

The huge trade deficit

According to data supplied by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the trade volume between Russia and Turkey in 2010 was around $26.2 billion, and Turkey’s exports to Russia in the same year were $4.6 billion. Thus, there is a significant trade deficit for Turkey when it comes to trade with Russia.

However, Ambassador Ivanovskiy says this is not as bad as it seems, referring to 4 million Russian tourists visiting Turkey every year. According to the TİM report, this number is expected to go as high as 5 million in the near future with the end of visa requirements. Ivanovskiy added that the economic impact of those tourists for Turkey is huge and that this is not counted when it comes to calculating exports. He also reiterated the fact that there are a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Turkey operating in Russia and remitting their earnings back to Turkey.

He also spoke about big Turkish enterprises such as Max Mara and LC Waikiki, whose number of stores in Russia has now reached more than the number of stores they have in Turkey. “So when you take all these [things] into account, it is not as bad as it seems at all for Turkey,” he says.
 
Istanbul – Todays Zaman

Erdoğan criticizes Israel over its satellite reservations


PM Erdoğan attended to the meeting held with the theme of “Vision 2023.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized Israel on Friday because the Jewish state is waging a diplomatic war with several countries, including the US, to prevent Turkey from snapping pictures of its territory through a new Turkish satellite.
 
The GökTürk satellite is due to be in orbit by 2013, Erdoğan noted while speaking at a meeting arranged in Ankara by a youth branch of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

This fact annoys some, Erdoğan said, without mentioning the name of any particular country. Yet, he apparently addressed Israel since Turkey’s leap into the aerospace market treads on Israeli security sensitivities given the former allies’ recently strained ties. Unlike with other nations that have fielded commercial satellites, Israel has little leverage over Ankara. “You have been observing us for decades,” Erdoğan said at the meeting held with the theme of “Vision 2023.”

“But now our GökTürk satellite will be in orbit by 2013,” Erdoğan said. “You are the ones who will firmly stick to the 2023 goals and exert efforts to make them real with all of your strength,” he added, while addressing young members of his party.

Israel has already put pressure on France, which is working on the construction of the satellite in cooperation with the Italian-based Telespazio, to stop the project. “We try to ensure that we are not photographed at high resolutions and most [countries] accommodate us,” a senior Israeli defense official told Reuters earlier this week. “Should we request this of the Turks? We won’t ask for it. There is no one to talk to.”

Last week, speaking with Today’s Zaman, a senior official from the Turkish Ministry of Defense raised points similar to those of Erdoğan.

“For years Israel has been obtaining images of our territory. For the first time we will have a satellite for intelligence. Reciprocity is essential in international relations. If they can observe Turkish soil, Turkey has the same right, too,” the official said at the time.

Turkey’s defense and procurement authorities had completed a deal with Telespazio for the construction and launch of the country’s first military satellite, GökTürk, in 2009. The 250 million euro contract was signed on July 16, 2009 at a ceremony attended by top Turkish officials, including Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül and Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) head Murad Bayar and company representatives.

The agreement covers the supply of an earth-observation satellite equipped with a high-resolution optical sensor, an integration and test center for satellites to be built in Turkey and the entire ground segment of the system, which will carry out in-orbit operation, data acquisition and processing. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been eliminated from the approximately $250 million project.
 
TZ

Tbilisi ‘interested’ in U.S. missile defense radar

Georgia is interested in the proposal by a group of U.S. senators that Tbilisi host a missile defense radar, Deputy Foreign Minister David Dzhalagania said on Monday.

Four U.S. Republican senators – Jon Kyl, James Risch, Mark Kirk and James Inhofe – have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asking him to consider Georgia as a potential host for the TPY-2 missile defense radar.

“This is a new initiative so I can’t say the Georgian side has formulated a concrete position on the matter,” Dzhalagania said.

“This initiative is interesting in and of itself and it deserves attention from the point of view of regional security and stability.”

The United States previously invited Turkey to host a radar site but Ankara set a number of conditions, including that an anti-missile shield should be deployed in all the alliance’s member states, not just Turkey.

The senators have suggested that alternate sites be considered and that Georgia’s geographic location would make it an ideal place for a radar targeting Iran.

RIA Novosti

U.S. senators reject Turkey, pick Georgia for radar

AN/FPS-15 Pave Paws Radar StationFour Republican senators are calling on the Obama administration to place a sensitive missile defense-related radar site in Georgia, rather than in Turkey, as is currently planned.

“We believe that the U.S. should deploy the most effective missile defenses possible – in partnership with our allies – that provide for the protection of the U.S. homeland, our deployed forces, and our allies,” began a Feb. 3 letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), James Risch (R-ID), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and James Inhofe (R-OK).

The senators are responding to statements from the Turkish government that it would only agree to host the new radar, known as TPY-2, if the United States agrees not to share with Israel any of the information gathered by the radar site, which is part of a NATO system discussed at the recent Lisbon summit. Turkey also wants command and control over the radar, and wants NATO to remove any references to Iran as the threat targeted by the missile shield.

For all these reasons, the senators think Georgia would be a better option. “We believe that the Republic of Georgia’s geographic location would make it an ideal site for a missile defense radar aimed at Iran, and would offer clear advantages for the protection of the United States from a long range missile as compared to Turkey,” the senators wrote. “What’s more, the Republic of Georgia should be a significant partner for future defense cooperation with the U.S.”

The senators asked Gates to tell them if Georgia was under consideration as a possible host for the radar site and, if not, what other alternatives the Pentagon is considering, The Cable reported.

PanArmenian

Iran: Istanbul talks may be the West’s “last chance”

Talks next week between Iran and major powers concerned about its nuclear program could be the “last chance” for the West because Tehran’s atomic capability is improving, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying.
 
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Tehran’s nuclear ambassador, raised the stakes for the Jan. 21-22 meeting with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, which want assurances that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

Once Iran can make its own fuel for a research reactor, which it has said will happen this year, it may not return to negotiations if the talks to be held in İstanbul fail, the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying on Wednesday. “It might be the last chance because by installing fuel rods produced by Iran in the core of the Tehran research reactor, parliament would probably not allow the government to negotiate or send its uranium outside the country and the Istanbul meeting might be the last chance for the West to return to talks.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has the ultimate say on its nuclear policy and diplomacy.

A similar round of talks concluded in October 2009 with a tentative pact for Iran to export some of its low-enriched uranium in exchange for fuel rods made from higher-enriched, 20 percent uranium to run the reactor which makes medical isotopes.

But that deal, meant as a confidence building step leading to further talks, unraveled when Tehran backed away from the terms, ultimately leading to a new wave of sanctions that some analysts say helped push Tehran back to the negotiating table.

Acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Saturday that Iran would be able to produce its own fuel material for the Tehran reactor later this year, making any swap deal “lose its meaning.”

Bruno Tertrais, Senior Research Fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris, said Soltanieh’s statement was largely a bluff. “In any case, Mr. Soltanieh’s argument is reversible — we could always say it’s the last chance for Iran. “When I say bluff, I mean I am not at all certain that Iran has the technical capacity to make the fuel necessary for this type of reactor,” he said, echoing the general assessment of Western officials and nuclear experts. “Now if Iran wants to go down that road then, good luck!”

The UN Security Council has urged Iran since 2006 to suspend its uranium enrichment — which yields fuel for nuclear reactors or, if done to a much higher level, for nuclear bomb — in exchange for a packet of economic and diplomatic incentives. Western diplomats do not anticipate a major breakthrough in Istanbul, in view of Iran’s refusal to even discuss enrichment.

“I think the best outcome would be agreement to another meeting,” said one senior Western diplomat in Vienna, the home of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Soltanieh reiterated Iran’s stance. “We consider the possession of peaceful nuclear technology, especially uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes and under the supervision of the IAEA, as our absolute right,” IRNA quoted him as saying. “By no means will we give up on our undeniable peaceful nuclear technology.”
 
Reuters

Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

The military said in a statement that Ghauri Hatf 5, with a range of 800 miles, could carry conventional and other warheads.

Pakistan on Tuesday successfully test fired a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads, the military said.

The military said in a statement that Ghauri Hatf 5, with a range of 800 miles, could carry conventional and other warheads.

The launch was conducted by the Army Strategic Force command’s strategic missile group at the end of a field-training exercise aimed at testing the force’s operational readiness, the statement said.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman General Khalid Shahmeem Wyne and other senior military officers and scientists witnessed the tests, it said.

“You have made the nation proud and we salute you for your outstanding work,” Gilani told the scientists and engineers.

Gilani said Pakistan could be proud of its defense capability and the reliability of its nuclear deterrence. This capability, he added, formed the bedrock of Pakistan’s security policy and will continue to be enhanced.

“The test amply demonstrates the credibility of our minimum deterrence strategy, which is the cornerstone of our security policy and ensures peace in the region,” he said.

“It also sends the right signals internationally that Pakistan’s defense capability is impregnable and should never be challenged.”

Gilani said Pakistan was a responsible nation with an extremely reliable nuclear capability and did not harbor any aggressive designs against anyone.

South Asian rivals India and Pakistan – which have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir – have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.

Pakistan’s arsenal includes short-, medium- and long-range missiles named after Muslim conquerors.

“Let there be no doubt that Pakistan’s armed forces are highly professional, motivated and fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan’s security against all types of aggression,” Gilani added.

AFP

Iraq given green light to run nuclear program

The UN Security Council on Wednesday gave Iraq the green light to develop a civilian nuclear program, ending 19-year-old restrictions aimed at preventing the country from developing atomic weapons.
 
In two other resolutions, the 15-nation council also wound up the controversial oil-for-food program for Iraq and set June 30, 2011, to end all immunities protecting Baghdad from claims related to the period when former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was in power.

“The adoption of these important resolutions marks the beginning of the end of the sanctions regime and restriction on Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and recovery,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told the council.

“Our people will rejoice for having turned a chapter on the aggressive, belligerent and defiant behavior of the previous regime toward international law and legitimacy,” he said.

After its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was hit with a series of UN measures that banned imports of chemicals and nuclear technology that could be used in its covert atomic, chemical and biological weapons programs. Those restrictions were in place for two decades.

Baghdad will keep paying 5 percent of its oil revenues as war reparations, most of it to Kuwait, despite Iraq’s calls for a renegotiation of those payments so it can use more of its oil money for needed development projects.
 
TZ

Fate of U.S. nukes in Europe

Despite the end of the Cold War, and the dismantling of over 25,000 nuclear weapons, NATO still maintains a stock of nuclear bombs in Europe. These are American weapons, to be used by NATO allies with U.S. permission. They are not covered by START (the strategic nuclear disarmament treaty) because they are not strategic, they are local, or “theater” weapons. NATO would like to negotiate a disarmament treaty to cover such non-strategic nukes, but to get the Russians to do that, it helps if there are some nukes under NATO control. Like with START, a treaty covering non-strategic weapons would require all parties to show what they got, and where they store it.

Since the 1980s, the United States has slowly reduced its once enormous nuclear weapons stockpile in Europe. Three years ago, for example, an administrative document revealed that there would no longer be nuclear weapons inspections at Ramstein airbase, meaning that the U.S. no longer stored nuclear weapons there. These bombs were intended for the use by German aircraft, in the event of a major war with, well, there didn’t seem to be any suitably scary enemies available any more. But there are still about 250 American nuclear weapons stored in Europe, all of them believed to be 1960s era B61 nuclear weapons, configured as a half ton bomb that can be carried by most U.S., and some European, fighter-bombers.

Some 3,200 B61s were built since the design went into service in the mid-1960s, and about half of those remain available for use. Some are being refurbished, so they will good for another two decades. The basic B61 nuclear bomb weighs 318 kg (700 pounds), is 330mm in diameter and about 3.9 meters (twelve feet) long. Those stored in Europe are not being refurbished, meaning that those withdrawn are probably approaching the end of their shelf life. Without the refurb, all these older warheads will be useless in less than a decade. Most B61 warheads were variable yield, and could be set to provide an explosion ranging from less than a kiloton, to over 300 kilotons.

During the early 1970s, the United States had over 7,000 nuclear warheads stored in Europe, most of them 8 inch (204mm) and 155mm artillery shells. This was in the belief that, if the Russians, and their Warsaw Pact allies, invaded Western Europe, they would do so using these “tactical” (a yield of under 100 kilotons) nuclear weapons. Plans were drawn up to use hundreds of these warheads in battles with the invading Russians. But eventually, it was realized that such use would destroy Western Europe, and probably lead to a full scale nuclear war that would devastate the planet. So, by the end of the Cold War in 1990, there were only about 4,000 U.S. nukes left in Europe. By the end of the 1990s, there were only about 500 left. Most of these were for the use of NATO allies. During the Cold War, European nations were to be provided with American nuclear weapons, in the event of a major war. Most of these agreements are still in effect.

James Dunnigan