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Interview

Coşkunöz Holding leads the way with state-of-the-art indigenous technology in key industries

Coskunöz Holding CEO Erdem ACAY shares insight into the 70 year company history in key industries such as the automotive industry, defense and aviation, environmental technologies and information technologies. With 12 companies Coşkunöz Holding follows technological developments in the new global balance in line with their strategic targets, concentrating on high value-added products and technologies. In this interview we find out more about how UAVERA aims to develop and produce optimum and indigenous products in line with the requirements of military and civilian stakeholders, and the latest developments on the Çağatay VTOL. In addition to UAV and military projects, the company plans to provide services and products to semi-private and private enterprises in areas such as surveillance, detection, tracking and maintenance.

Issue 105

Defence Turkey: First of all, thank you for your time for the interview. Let’s start off with the history of  the company.  Could you take us back to the roots of Coşkunöz Holding and how it has made a name for itself especially in the automotive industry?

Erdem ACAY: The foundation of Coşkunöz Holding dates back to the 1950s, when our founder M. Kemal Coşkunöz, who was a teacher, established the SKT Company with two partners and afterwards established his own workshop. The first patented fabric marking machine production in Turkey was made in 1950 by our founder Kemal Coşkunöz. He established his own workshop in Bursa after he separated from SKT in 1960 and started Sheet Metal Bending Steel Joinery Profile manufacturing and the first steel bus body production was made in Turkey in 1963. In 1966, the foundations of the Metal Form factory were laid and for the first time, a driver's cab was produced for Fiat. In 1969, the mass production of the Turkish Tractor Body was initiated. In 1973, after the conversion of K.Coşkunöz Company into a joint stock company, the mass production of Oyak Renault body parts started. In 1990, the first sheet metal forming molds were exported to Isuzu Belford (UK) and Opel (Germany). In 1991, the export of transport and containment crates produced from aluminum alloys for the defense industry launched. From the 1990's to the 2000's, the Holding continued to grow and pioneered in different sectors with new brands. Coşkunöz Defense and Aerospace Company was established in Eskişehir in 2006. In 2007, it received the AS/EN 9100 Certificate and the TUSAŞ Supplier Approval Certificate. Coşkunöz Metal Form Company received the best supplier award from Citroen in 2011. Coşkunöz Metal Form, performing services for PSA (Peugeot Citroen Group) in mold production, became one of the two companies awarded by PSA in the field of capital goods quality worldwide. In the same year, Coşkunöz Defense and Aerospace was selected as a "Gold subcontractor" by TUSAŞ. In 2015, Coşkunöz Defense and Aerospace started the mid-body assembly project of KAI's Korean Utility Helicopter KUH Surion. Last year, Coşkunöz Holding acquired İVME İHS, which operates in the field of unmanned aerial systems, and stepped into the production and development of UAV technologies with İVME İHS, with its new name UAVERA.

As Coşkunöz Holding, we are committed to our philosophy of being a pioneer in the sectors we are in. We have created added value in the sectors we have been serving for more than 70 years.

Defence Turkey: What are Coşkunöz Holding’s fields of activity and capabilities?

Erdem ACAY: We execute significant projects with world-renowned companies in key industries such as the automotive industry, defense and aviation, environmental technologies and information technologies. We have in-depth experience and capabilities in these areas. With our 12 companies, we closely follow the technological developments in the new global balance in line with our strategic targets, and concentrate on high value-added products and technologies.

Coşkunöz Defense and Aerospace, performs activities in the defense industry and gets fruitful results from the technologies it has developed, especially in additive manufacturing, in its defense and aviation activities together with R&D activities.

INEVA, our new investment in the field of energy, attracts great attention with its innovative solution for the disposal of sewage sludge.

Coşkunöz Molding Machine Company goes beyond its profitability and quality targets with its advanced engineering capability.

Coşkunöz Metal Form Company continues to create value for its customers with high quality products and services for the automotive industry.

CITS Information Services offers businesses integrated SAP business solutions and other information technology services. It also performs activities on a global scale with our companies abroad which create added value for businesses where they operate.

Defence Turkey: Could you inform us about the corporate structure, facilities, number of staff and production infrastructure of Coşkunöz Defense and Aerospace, which started to perform activities in 2007?

Erdem ACAY: Coşkunöz Defense and Aerospace (CSH) is a 100% private company established by Coşkunöz Holding. Its main field of activity is defense and aerospace. It offers fuselage assembly solutions for fixed and rotary wing platforms, manufactures structural components, performs fabrication and assembly of finished cabin products, and also produces structural components for satellites. We operate in an outdoor space that spans 33,000 m2 and and indoor space of 11,750 m2. Apart from TUSAŞ, we are the only company in Turkey capable of fuselage assembly, which requires high-precision and advanced technology. We are delighted in adding value to our sector with our services such as precision parts manufacturing, assembly, integration, welding, design and engineering, with the awareness that we bring advantages to our country. Since we obtained NATO Secret and National Facility Security Clearances in March 2015, we have started subsystem and system production and integration activities in the field of defense. We added a new line to our strategic solutions by expanding our production range to the level of aircraft and helicopter fuselage manufacturing in the aerospace field. As CSH, we provide our customers with effectual and efficient production in our high security facilities, thanks to our modern production technology which provides a high level of automation and the performance of our qualified employees.

Defence Turkey: In January 2021, you acquired Ankara-based İVME İHS, operating in the field of Unmanned Aerial Systems, and incorporated under the name UAVERA. Could you inform us about UAVERA's objectives, activities and vision?

Erdem ACAY: With an investment of around TRY 15 million for the acquisition on UAVERA, we, as Coşkunöz Holding, aim to carry Turkey to top positions in the field defense and aerospace in terms of indigenization. With UAVERA, we will focus on providing products and services for use in the civilian and military field. By investing approximately TRY 15 million in UAVERA, we have started projects for the production of small class fixed wing UAVs capable of vertical landing and take-off and target UAVs reaching high altitudes and speeds. With our new investment, we aim to break ground in the Turkish defense and aerospace industry. In addition to UAV and military projects, we also plan to provide services and products to semi-private and private enterprises in areas such as surveillance, detection, tracking and maintenance.

Among our targets is to become the market leader and technology developer in small UAV and target the UAV market in Turkey. We aim to develop and produce optimum and indigenous products in line with the requirements of military and civilian stakeholders, and to be able to respond to certain needs with a leasing system in the most professional and cost-effective manner.

Defence Turkey: What would you like to say about the current status of your activities for the production of small class fixed wing UAVs capable of vertical landing and take-off, and target UAVs reaching high altitudes and speeds?

Erdem ACAY: Currently, UAVERA has the production capacity to manufacture 3 systems / 6 aircraft and sub-components per month. On the other hand, our R&D studies on UAV components continue. We aim to offer our products, which will be developed as a result of such studies, to our users with different business models. We will offer our state-of-the-art indigenous UAVs to end users with a cost-effective leasing model.

On the other hand, we continue development studies for our target UAVs, which are used as a target simulation platform in the test, calibration and training of indigenously developed Air Defense Systems. We are making efforts to develop platforms that will reach the speeds of 0,6 and 0,85 Mach, in addition to our UAVs that can currently reach the speeds of 77, 125 and 195 knots.

Furthermore, we aim to minimize the foreign dependency of our country in the target UAV market as well.  

Defence Turkey: In the field of Unmanned Aerial Systems, which capability and technology acquisition are you focusing on? What are your distinguished capabilities in this field? 

Erdem ACAY: Our most significant difference and technology is that our UAVs are able to vertically takeoff and land without the need for a runway. The UAV can make a vertical takeoff thanks to its electric motors and starts to move horizontally by activating its gasoline engine after take-off. After completing its task, the gasoline engine is deactivated and the electric vertical-moving engine is activated and can make a vertical landing. With the software, this capability has become autonomous. It provides ease of use to the pilot with a user friendly simulation interface. Since it is locally developed, it is very affordable compared to its competitors. In addition, the UAVs we have developed can be modified for utilization in different types of tasks. 

Defence Turkey:  Let’s touch on the topic of your export activities in the field of defense industry and its impact on your annual turnover. What are tour target international markets? Could you inform us about your projects abroad?

Erdem ACAY: In 2015, we signed a contract with Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the assembly of the center fuselage for 60 KUH Surion helicopters. We continue our deliveries in line with our contract. With the competence we have gained within the scope of the project that will continue until 2026, we are one of the two companies that can perform "Fuselage Assembly" in our country. We conduct negotiations for the use of our fuselage manufacturing competence, one of the top competencies in aviation and aerospace, in national air platforms and in the products of global air vehicle manufacturers.

CSH currently serves domestic and international companies with its competence in air vehicle fuselage manufacturing and assembly and is progressing to further develop its competence in this field. Our objective is to become a leading company that will close the mid-tier producer (TIER 1) gap required by main contractors and SMEs. There is export potential in this area for us.

Defence Turkey: In which other fields do you perform activities in the defense industry as CSH, other than Unmanned Aerial Vehicles? 

Erdem ACAY: As CSH, we are always one step ahead with the competencies and experience we have gained in the defense industry. We are among the defense industry leaders in areas such as precision machining, component assembly, air vehicle fuselage assembly, sub-system & system manufacturing, subsystem & system integration, welding, special processes, quality management, logistics management and supplier management. 

We also assume roles in critical domestic and national projects for the defense industry.

We manufacture systems and subsystems within the scope of the MILGEM project, BORA/KAAN Missile canisters, HİSAR Air Defense Missile canister, ATMACA Missile canister, remote control turret systems and missile transport boxes.

Defence Turkey: What do you anticipate as far as sales targets in domestic and international markets over the next 10 years, your plans on technology acquisition and investment, and also your expectations regarding the added value you aim to provide to our country?

Erdem ACAY: As a company that designs and develops products using advanced technology in the defense and aviation industry, it is our main priority to always maintain a high level of customer satisfaction with our zero error and timely delivery principle. We aim to become a leading manufacturer in domestic UAV technologies, especially with the strength we derive from our R&D activities.

Defence Turkey: Do you have any additional comments that you would like to share with our readers?

Erdem ACAY:I would like to give brief overview about the Çağatay UAV CGT50, which UAVERA continues to develop.  We will hear its name much more in the future and see more advanced versions in the future. With indigenous design and manufacture, the Çağatay VTOL is capable of performing strategic tasks and has a 4.65m wingspan. With endurance of 6 hours, the Çağatay VTOL uses an electric motor for vertical take-off and landing. Thus, it does not require a runway or catapult/launcher. The Çağatay VTOL takes off from a stand and is able to land on a 5 × 5 m space. Thanks to this feature, the Çağatay VTOL is ideal for missions where landing and take-off areas are restricted or dangerous. Our UAV, which has a maximum cruising speed of 58 knots, can operate at an altitude of maximum 18,000 feet with its fully autonomous system. The fact that our vehicle is equipped with a satellite control system is of great advantage for the user