MilSOFT: Innovation, Indigenous Capabilities, Prosperous International Activities

MiLSOFT, a global player as a competitive Turkish System Integration and SW Development Company, recently signed a 17 million Euro contract with HDW thanks to the commencement of R&D works on the

Issue 20 - January 2010

1- Mr. Basyigit, It is seen that MilSOFT has taken significant achievements for 11 years since its establishment. In terms of production, investment, export and international projects, how could you evaluate the improvements in figures in recent years?

Starting from the beginning, we have set our target to be a major player in the world market as a competitive Turkish System Integration and SW Development Company. To our view, being competitive in such a sector requires a very high technology and can only be reachable by addressing three main areas. First is to work according to the most demanding international standards, second is to develop new and innovative technologies based on both leading edge open information & knowledge and finally, third is to utilize qualified workforce effectively and efficiently in order to achieve competitive prices lead by high productivity.

In order to understand how we proceeded in these three areas let me explain you in details. After we evaluated the accepted methodologies in the international market we decided to follow the most demanding and the most accepted one. MilSOFT first reached to Capability Maturity Model (CMM) Level 3 in 2003 and then reached to Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 5 on February 24, 2005 as the first Company in Europe. MilSOFT was reassessed in February 2008 and managed to stay in CMMI Level 5 according to Version 1.2 Rules of SEI CMMI Methodology and became the 20th company in the World, who achieved this level according to the new guidelines.

MilSOFT is an R&D based company. MilSOFT’s yearly R&D budgets were the 30% of the incomes from the sales till the end of 2006. In 2007, R&D budget was 20% of the income from its sales. Even though the R&D budget percentage wise has decreased, the R&D budget amount increased as MilSOFT’s sales was increased. In line with these goals, we first developed our processes and initiated R&D Projects that would enable us to develop our own technologies and prototype some critical functions/capabilities for demonstrating them to our potential customers and procurement agencies. We have been able to develop our own technologies through R&D Projects for C4I Systems, Tactical Data Links, Image Exploitation Systems, Electronic Warfare, Simulation & Modeling and Embedded Systems.

TÜB?TAK TEYDEB financial support to MilSOFT’s R&D Activities has been key enabling instrument to develop leading edge technologies; so, much that we have been able to receive 12M USD fund for MilSOFT’s R&D Projects, and MilSOFT herself invested at least twice of that amount. As a result of the R&D Projects we have carried out, we were able to get real projects both in Turkey and abroad.

One of the most important aspects in achieving MilSOFT’s highly set targets is to be able to utilize our personnel according to their competencies to manage their developments and to keep their motivation and performance at the possible highest scale. Among other factors, the belief in developing indigenous local defense capabilities has been motivation for our engineers.

Employing well planned and managed career development and accompanying competency and training management, MilSOFT workforce added value not only to national defense capability but also to themselves.

We believe the most important benefit MilSOFT is providing to her highly qualified and competent workforce; is to add value to their knowledge, experience, and competencies continuously in MilSOFT work environment which is characterized by continuous R&D work performed in compliance to highest and most demanding international standards.

2- How do you asses MilSOFT position in 2010? What are MilSOFT‘s 2010 targets?

MilSOFT would like to contribute to new projects with her already gained capabilities and also improve her capabilities within her interest areas. We see our contribution in 2010 as follows:

MilSOFT has developed Scalable Combat Management System (CMS), which has Link-16/Link-22 data structure, based on latest technologies namely OACE (Open Architecture Computing Environment) and DDS (Data Distribution Services) by taking into consideration the requirements of New Generation CMS through an R&D Project and received Technological Success Award in Turkey with this solution. Also, MilSOFT received the Contract for providing her CMS to Turkish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Ship Project. MilSOFT’s CMS is going to be one of the first implementation of CMS, which is based on these new technological standards set by the US Navy and Leading Defense Companies, in the market. MilSOFT would like to contribute to new platform projects, modernization projects, and also to New Generation CMS development with her already existing capabilities.

We have been able to develop most sophisticated Image Exploitation capabilities in Turkey through the R&D Project and these capabilities were utilized in Turkish UAV Project’s direct UAV Procurement part. To improve these capabilities through new coming projects is as our target for the coming years.

We have developed and delivered EW Programming & Simulation Laboratory for Turkish Navy in July 2009 and also Joint EW Training Systems & Simulator (JETS&JETSIM) to Turkish General Staff. Both of the projects were very successful in terms of the capabilities we provided and also we managed the early deliveries to the customers within these Projects. We managed to use different subcontractors within these Projects and early deliveries in these projects show our ability to use subcontractors. MilSOFT’s experienced EW Team expects to have new EW Projects in Turkey.

A few years ago MilSOFT was chosen to develop “Link-11/Link-16 Multi Data Link System” in GENESIS Project and has taken an important step in reaching a position of becoming one among a handful of companies worldwide to provide solutions in this area. Together with the help of her Tactical Data Links R&D works, MilSOFT, by including its Link-22 capability into the multi data link system, has obtained the opportunity of providing an important technological solution to the New Type Submarine Project, too. MilSOFT’s Multi Data Link system reflects MilSOFT’s knowledge and experience on tactical data link and contains MilSOFT infrastructure software, which is compatible to current architecture (OACE) and international standards (OMG/DDS). As our Tactical Data Link system and CMS use the same infrastructure, their integration is seamless. We aim to keep contributing to the Projects that require Tactical Data Link Solutions with our existing solutions.

Capabilities gained by local companies through the National Projects as a result of developing local/national defense industry policy shall not be sacrificed by the contention between the Companies. We believe the importance of using the existing capabilities instead of re-developing already developed capabilities in different companies. This will reduce the effects of cost, schedule, and risk. We expect the necessary sensitivity from the decision makers in order to support this approach. We never just target the Turkish Market and we always aim to export our solutions to other countries as well.

3-Recently MilSOFT has taken a role in 2 significant projects; GORSIS (UAV Ground Station), ESSM (Enchanted Sea Sparrow Missile Integration), on the other hand, last month, MilSOFT has signed a contract with HDW regarding the Link11&Link22 Tactical Data Link Processor in New Type Submarine Project. Could you please inform us about your activities in these projects?

We have been working as a subcontractor to TAI for the GORSIS Project, in which we have the responsibilities of Pay Load Control Software, Data/Image/Voice Communication, Integrated Test & Monitoring Software and Mission Planning Software through a capable subcontractor which utilized already developed capability in other program.

We have been working as a subcontractor to BAV, US Company in FMS Project for the integration of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile to Turkish Frigates. Our team has been working with Turkish Navy Research & Development Center in Istanbul.

To meet the requirements of the Turkish Naval Forces, as part of the New Type Submarine Project, which is being executed by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, the “Development and Integration of Link-11/Link-22 Tactical Data Link Processor and Link Console” Contract valued 17 Million Euro was signed between MilSOFT and HDW (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft) on 1 February 2010 in Kiel, Germany.

In general terms, The MilSOFT Multi Data Link Solution within the scope of the New Type Submarine Project, involves the transfer of information received from the Link-11/Link-22 network to the Submarine Command and Control System and the transfer of messages received from this System to the Link-11/Link 22 and an exchange of Link-22 network and trace management messaging.

MilSOFT’s responsibilities within this Project include the Integration of Six Multi Link Systems to the Submarine Command and Control System, the Integration of One Multi Link System to the Land Based Test System and Data Transfer between Link-11 and Link-22.

By means of this project, MilSOFT, together with the HDW Company, will have the opportunity to undertake exports in such an area, which requires high technology. This opportunity, at the same time, points to an important indication of the technological level that the Turkish defense industry has reached.

4-It is well known that MilSOFT became an important partner of reputable global defense companies such as Sikorsky, Rockwell, Thales, Elbit etc in various projects. Could you please inform us about your international activities?

What are your plans in the coming years? What are its export-based strategies and market goals?

How do you assess MilSOFT’s position in international platforms?

Since the beginning, we started to get business to provide critical software solutions to the very well known international leading defense companies of the technologically developed countries such as USA, Israel, France, Germany, and the UK.

Until the end of 2004, our income was only formed by the overseas projects that we have accomplished in this manner. After we have proven our company in the international market, we started to get business from domestic market with our own technologies and capabilities.

Throughout the time, as MilSOFT started to develop her own products such as; Joint Electronic Warfare Training Solutions (JETS&JETSIM), CMS namely GEMKOMSIS, Image Exploitation Systems, Tactical Data Link Solutions, and Electronic Warfare Solutions that can be marketable all around the world and marketing activities for our solutions are going on in Gulf Region Countries, Middle East Countries and Far East Countries and we achieved positive progresses. Our aim is to reach to 50% export within the following five years.

5. MilSOFT which has a great standing in the field of national and international defense, established MilSOFT ICT in accordance with an agreement so as to gather operations regarding to Informatics and Communication Technologies under a different institutional roof 3 years ago. How do you assess the conclusion of this new structure in terms of your capabilities and technology? Could you please inform us the activities of MilSOFT ICT since its establishment?

MilSOFT ICT’s activities since its establishment, besides developing civilian applications like Crisis/Emergency Management Information Systems, Fleet Management and Logistics Support Systems, and e-government applications, I would like to focus that MilSOFT ICT is developing infrastructures with Network Centric capabilities for the purpose of integrating real-time defense systems in the wide area.

6- In IDEF 2009, MilSOFT ICT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sikorsky to explore the formation of a joint venture with to develop, market, and support a suite of fleet management software tools. Could you please inform us about this partnership? How do you assess this cooperation?

This partnership aims to provide a modern Logistics Support management capability based on new international standards like S1000D. This new logistics management system will utilize sophisticated software that can be used on any complex weapons system, including tanks, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), ships and ground vehicles that will help manage and maintain the aircraft or system.

The new products from this joint venture will include comprehensive logistic support & management tools with an advanced suite of diagnostic modules, electronic technical manuals, and web-based training.

The importance in this is that, when you look at the cost of a product throughout its lifecycle, nearly 30% of this cost consists of the production costs, whereas 70% of its cost consists of the logistic support. So the main and important improvement can be realized in logistics field. This is the reason we have signed this MOU to bring together MilSOFT ICT’s S1000D based Logistic Lifecycle & Fleet Management product and Sikorsky’s Fleet Management capabilities.

It has also been observed that the logistic lifecycle support can boost operational availability of the aircraft, which effectively mean the increase of operationally available platforms more than 10%. This improvement is achieved through prognostic maintenance, better fault identification and isolation and optimizing the human and material resources. Emphasizing the life cycle support is the new paradigm which will bring further developments in this field and MilSOFT ICT is getting prepared for this new era.

7-Mr. Basyigit, finally I would like you to tell us the key points beneath this success story as a leader of a rapidly growing company.

In Turkey, we have very well educated engineering manpower infrastructure. Having a well-organized management infrastructure to use this manpower efficiently and to direct it to well- set targets is very essential. We gave importance to the management of the complexity of big projects as much as giving importance to the technical issues.

We have been investing to the development of our own technologies in our interest areas. In this way, we have been successful to show our solutions/capabilities to satisfy technology, schedule, and risk requirements of the projects. So, we have been able to give enough confidence with our existing capabilities based on the latest technologies developed through R&D projects and with the quality of our solutions based on very well accepted international standards. This has been the only way for MilSOFT, as a private company, to demonstrate that projects can be achievable with low risk in schedule and quality; by doing so; we have been able to get contracts.

By providing challenging work to MilSOFT engineers and by setting the targets to become an internationally competitive company; we have been able to attract the high caliber engineering force. In this way, we also contributed to reversing the brain drain by employing Turkish engineers who were working outside of the country. In order to keep this dynamism up, we believe that companies like MilSOFT, which are developing new technologies, are needed to be supported by decision makers.

Finally I have to emphasize the most important ingredient for MilSOFT’s and maybe whole Turkish Defense Industrial achievement. In recent years what Turkish Defense Industry has accomplished has been possible because of the policies and their determined implementation toward the development of national indigenous industrial defense capabilities, without which MilSOFT wouldn’t find an environment to grow.