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.
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