An overview on Turkish- Italian Defence Industry

There is a sound relationship and long-lasting cooperation between Italian and Turkish companies in the field of defence industry. As you may already kn

Date: Issue 14 - January 2009

Defence Turkey: Mr. Bayar, could you please inform us on the projects that Italian Defense industry companies have taken part in during recent years? What are your evaluations and comments on the cooperation achieved for these projects?

There is a sound relationship and long-lasting cooperation between Italian and Turkish companies in the field of defence industry.
As you may already know, we already awarded contracts with Agusta in 1998 for the procurement of five (5) AB412-EP Coast Guard Helicopters (MARTI); in 1999 for the procurement of four (4) additional helicopters; and in 2004 again for the procurement of five (5) helicopters.
Also, Turkey has participated in Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Project with Italy. Within the scope of the project, the negotiations have been continuing with all participant countries including Italy for pilot trainings and logistic support to be realized following the production stage. Besides, the contract negotiations with Alenia for the procurement of 10 (ten) Maritime Patrol Aircraft platforms with Maritime Surveillance capability and integration of Mission Equipment to the platforms (Meltem-3) were initiated in 2005. Within the scope of the project initiated for the realization of Electronic Warfare (EW) trainings of the Turkish Armed Forces combatant elements and the development of tactical and technical of EW systems, a contract was signed with Italian Oerlikon Contraves S.p.A in 2006 for the procurement of the system to be integrated with the Electronic Warfare Test and Training Range (EWTTR).
Within the scope of ATAK Project, a contract was signed with Agusta/Westland in 2008 as the main subcontractor of TUSAS. Regarding the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Ship Project, the construction of the ships, the designs of which are made in Italian Fincantieri shipyard, is to be realized by RMK Marine in Turkish shipyards. The technology and know-how transfer including project management know-how transfer regarding design, construction, endowment, installation, integration and testing activities is to be realized between the two companies for the acquisition of the required capabilities.
In addition, the negotiations have been continuing with Telespazio for the procurement of a satellite system in line with technological cooperation, joint development and joint usage principles in order to meet high resolution imagery requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces within the scope of GÖKTÜRK Project. The negotiations have also been continuing with AgustaWestland regarding the procurement of General Purpose Helicopters for the needs of Turkish Armed Forces and other public institutions.
We wish the continuation of our cooperation with Italy established towards the defence industry in the future.
Defence Turkey: The contract negotiations were decided to be initiated with Telespazio within the scope of Göktürk Project. What kind of cooperation will be achieved in this project? Could you inform us on the current situation and the process to be executed?

Through GÖKTÜRK Project, which is being implemented by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, a satellite system procurement is aimed in line with technological cooperation, joint development and joint usage principles in order to meet the requirements of acquisition of high resolution imagery for military intelligence from any place in the world without any geographical restriction and also for civilian activities such as control of forest land, tracking of illegal construction, determination of damage after natural disasters within a short time, zone crop determination, geographical map data production. In line with this objective, a very high resolution Reconnaissance and Surveillance Satellite and dedicated fixed and mobile ground stations will be procured with maximum utilization of in-country products and services. In accordance with the decision of Defence Industry Executive Committee dated 18th December 2008, the contract negotiations between the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries and TELESPAZIO S.p.A (?taly) were initiated in January 2009 and are still continuing. The Göktürk Contract is planned to be awarded in the first half of 2009.

?Satellite Installation, Integration and Test Center? (AI&T Center), which enables capability acquisition regarding the installation, integration and test of all satellites, including communication satellites planned to be produced in our country, will be built at TAI facilities.

TAI (for Satellite Mechanical Design), ASELSAN (for Ground Station Installation) and TÜB?TAK-UEKAE (for Encryption) will be the subcontractors of TELESPAZIO S.p.A.

Also, Turkish engineers from TAI, ASELSAN, TÜB?TAK-UEKAE, ROKETSAN and TÜRKSAT will directly be participating in the design, production and test stages of GÖKTÜRK Satellite.

Defence Turkey: Could you please brief us about the current situation and the latest developments within the frame of the cooperation achieved with Agusta/Westland in ATAK Helicopter Project?

As you already know, ATAK Project was initiated in the midst of 2008. TUSA?, as the Main Contractor, and Aselsan & AgustaWestland, as the Subcontractors, have been harmoniously carrying out their activities according to the project schedule and objectives. During the first stage, several joint studies were performed in accordance with the system requirements. The Contractor and Subcontractors have then started design activities in line with the contract requirements and as a result of joint studies. Within the project scope, the first test flights are planned to be realized at the end of this year. On the other hand, TUSA? and AgustaWestland have been carrying on marketing activities of T 129 helicopter in the international market. There is significant international interest towards T 129. The first delivery of the project is planned to be made in the midst of 2013.

Defence Turkey: Recently, the rapidly improving and technology producing Turkish defense industry has become a team member amongst global defense companies. Within this context, at which field will it be of mutual benefit to cooperate with? What are your recommendations and comments on this issue?

Undergoing a change in its defence industry and armed forces structure, and within the frame of a modernization program, Italy?s 2007 defence budget nearly reached 17.7 billion US Dollars. Even if the share of the defence expenditure in the GNP slightly decreased in Italy, currently, the number of employed persons in defence industry is nearly 50.000; the focus on the export in recent years has given rise to higher revenues. Within the restructuring studies of Italian defence industry, special emphasis has been given to the development and improvement of command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, target acquisition, reconnaissance capabilities (C4ISTAR), force deployment and preservation, and Military and Special Forces capabilities of the future.

With its sound defence industry infrastructure, Italy has several important companies performing activities in aviation industry, naval construction, air defence systems and electronics. Finmeccanica, holding the most important defence companies under its structure, is one of the biggest defence groups in Italy, moreover within European countries. It is considered that Turkish and Italian companies are able to cooperate intensely especially in the fields of aviation, naval construction and future soldier systems.

The continuation and sustainability of the cooperation established with defence industry companies such as Finmeccanica, Alenia Aeronautica, Fincantieri and Agusta/Westland in the projects like Joint Strike Fighter, Search and Rescue Ship and ATAK Helicopter Projects, and the expansion of such cooperation to the potential projects important for Turkey will be helpful and valuable.

Defence Turkey: What would you like to say to Italian Defence Industry companies as a conclusion message?

During Turkey?s full EU membership negotiation phase, we have been observing the increasing impact of the sound relationships that Turkey established with European countries in the field of defence industry. The positive impacts of the cooperation between Turkish defence industry companies and European defence companies on the European defence industry and technological infrastructure and possible positive impacts of such cooperation on European Defence Agency due to our continuing rights as an elder WEAG member cannot be disregarded. Having the sixth or seventh largest defence budget in terms of defence expenditures amongst European countries, Turkey will also provide an opportunity for European countries with its capabilities, know-how and its developing and sound infrastructure. It is obvious that the joint programs and direct procurement projects have developed the infrastructure of both countries? defence industry and strengthened the long-lasting relationship between Turkey and Italy. I personally believe that the efforts towards establishing cooperation for every field of the defence industry and enabling Turkish companies to further benefit from the expertise and experience of Italian companies in NATO, EU and OCCAR projects and programs will be of significant advantage for both sides.