Roketsan Satellite Launch, Space Systems & Advanced Technologies Research Center and Explosive Raw Material Production Plant Launched to Service

The Roketsan Satellite Launch, Space Systems and Advanced Technologies Research Center and the Explosive Raw Material Production Plant were opened at a ceremony held on the 98th anniversary of the August 30th Victory Day with the participation of President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN.

Date: Issue 101 - November 2020

 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no reception was held this year for August 30 Victory Day, still, on the 98th anniversary of the majestic victory, the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, attended the ceremony at Anıtkabir and following, at another ceremony at Beştepe, the President accepted the congratulations of the ministers, members of the parliament, superiors of the Turkish Army and foreign mission representatives. Following these two ceremonies, President ERDOĞAN attended the opening ceremony of Roketsan’s Satellite Launch, Space Systems and Advanced Technologies Research Center at Lalahan, Ankara, and conducted the launch of the Explosive Raw Material Production Plant at the facilities in Elmadağ through a teleconference. 

Vice President of Turkey Fuat OKTAY, Minister of National Defense Hulusi AKAR, Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim KALIN, President of Defense Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces General Yaşar GÜLER, and commanders-in-chief of the armed forces attended the program, and President ERDOĞAN obtained information on the ongoing projects from the officials at the meeting held at the premises. Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) developed by the Roketsan Ballistic Protection Center for the Leopard 2A4 tanks in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces, High Ballistic Strength Cage Armor, and Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank (MBT) modernized with modular Add-on Spaced Armor were demonstrated at the ceremony. 

Roketsan Chairman of the Board Faruk YİĞİT took the floor in the opening ceremony and stated that Roketsan has been considered among major global defense industry companies for the last 4 years and added that presently 1,081 engineers were employed at Roketsan’s facilities in Elmadağ which spans an area of 88,000 m2 and in Lalahan which is over 94,000 m2. YİĞİT: “With each and every day Roketsan has been increasing its rate of utilizing national and indigenous materials with its supplier ecosystem composed of 1,798 companies. 70% of these companies are SMEs, and as of August this rate reached 76%. Projects such as the Micro Satellite Launcher System, Precision-Guided Mini, and Micro weapon systems, Artificial Intelligence applications, Hypersonic Systems, Laser Guns, and technologies requiring advanced technologies are being executed in the body of the Satellite Launch, Space Systems, and Advanced Technologies Research Center which we will launch today.” YİĞİT relayed information on the Explosive Raw Material Production Plant at Elmadağ and underlined that the foreign dependency regarding the explosives employed by the rocket and missile systems would be minimized on account of the RDX and HMX type explosives to be manufactured at this plant. YİĞİT also announced that the sub-system verification activities regarding the latest product they launched the design with Baykar Savunma - the Laser Guided 230mm artillery rocket was completed at the beginning of July and noted that this rocket would be destroying the targets designated by TB2 UAV from the air with firepower from the ground. 

Taking the floor after Chairman of the Board of Roketsan, President of Defense Industries Prof. Dr. İsmail DEMİR said, “Claiming that critical technologies and strategic products are the most substantial areas to achieve a fully independent Turkey in the defense industry, we are pressing forward to our targets. To this end, in addition to manufacturing all the battle components of the weapon systems of our platforms ranging from radar and Electronic Warfare components, from communication combat information systems to combat management systems, we made critical progress in the indigenous and national development of sub-components. Still, we are aware that these achievements will not be enough, and we believe we will achieve greater targets by running faster.”  Informing the participants on Turkey’s space activities, Prof. DEMİR said, “Roketsan was assigned by our Presidency for the establishment of the Satellite Launch, Space Systems, and Advanced Technologies Research Center. In addition to the solid and liquid fuel rocket projects, projects on innovative weapon systems that will be a part of future combat environments and activities on our existing missile systems are being held at this center.” 

Minister of National Defense Hulusi AKAR stressed that the point Turkey achieved today in the defense industry field was regarded as a dream for many years and the self-confidence of our institutions was weakened as they were told that they would not achieve it. AKAR: “Despite all these obstacles and adversities, the Republic of Turkey overcame all these obstacles, one by one with a determined approach and the support of our dear President. We reached major achievements in all areas, in particular, the defense industry and every project once considered as a dream has been launched. We witnessed that we could do it and achieve it and proved it to the whole world, today; our companies are regarded among leading global companies. And today, we are one of these major global companies - Roketsan.” 

In his speech in the ceremony, President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN said, “I am quite pleased to be present at such a meaningful center that displays the level reached by our defense industry on the 98th anniversary of our grand victory. I wish that Roketsan’s Satellite Launch, Space Systems, and Advanced Technologies Center and Explosive Raw Material Production Plant brings good luck to our country and our nation. I congratulate all the institutions that took part in the launch of these facilities and Roketsan management for their efforts, on my behalf and behalf of my nation.” Underlining that owning a deterrent defense industry is a strategic and national obligation for states that are located in the midst of challenging geography such as our country, President ERDOĞAN added, “Mehmed the Conqueror personally designed the weapons that weighed 18 tons, and they were the most advanced weapons of their time. The Republic inherited the modern gunpowder, cartridge, and artillery factories established by Abdul Hamid II in Istanbul. There is powerful accumulation behind the weapons industry that extended to central Anatolia, Kırıkkale during the Republic Era. The aircraft factory founded in Kayseri by Nuri DEMİRAĞ and the gun factory built in Istanbul by Nuri Killigil are amongst the pioneers of our defense industry. In line with our policy of avoiding importing any products that we are capable of manufacturing indigenously, we have decreased our defense industry’s foreign dependency rate from 70% to 30%. Where 62 projects were conducted in 2002, today this figure has reached near 700. We launched around 350 projects in the last 5 years. The defense industry projects executed in 2002 accumulated to US$ 5.5 billion, whereas today, we reached a project volume of USD 60 billion. Again, in the same period, the number of our companies active in this industry reached 1,500 from 56. The turnover of the sector, which was US$ 1 billion in 2002, increased to USD 11 billion in 2019. The Defense and Aerospace exports that were US$ 248 million in 2002 exceeded US$ 3 billion as of 2019.  7 of our companies are on the list of Top 100 global defense industry companies. Our country is among the countries that fulfill not only its requirements in land and naval platforms but also design, build, and maintain its own battleship. The Turkish defense industry companies’ share, say and power in the global market have been increasing with each passing day.” 

Stating that he in no way settles for the import of products which we are capable of producing, President ERDOĞAN emphasized that utilization of our limited resources to enhance our defense industry should be regarded as our priority. “Roketsan, founded in 1988 by the late Özal, has always been one of the greatest supporters of our Mehmetçik (Turkish soldiers) with the weapons and ammunition it has manufactured. Presently, Roketsan successfully carries out its projects such as BORA, ATMACA, CİRİT, OMTAS, UMTAS, and the striking power of our AUAVs the MAM-L and MAM-C projects as well. Also, working on heavyweight torpedo and anti-submarine warfare, Roketsan has been equipping our Altay MBT and Leopard 2A4 tanks with armor systems. Hereby, I would like to mention Atmaca separately. Atmaca is our country’s first anti-ship missile. Atmaca, with a range of over 200km cruising only a few meters above the surface, cannot be detected by the enemy through radar. Sent to an identified target, Atmaca can destruct the target even if it moves. With these properties of Atmaca, our country has been included on the list of 5 countries in the world with the capacity of manufacturing their own anti-ship missiles. We will hopefully be including Atmaca, which is our army’s favorite, in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces. Many countries are interested in Atmaca and their demand to negotiate to procure this product is making us proud.” 

Stating that the first step towards space was taken in 2017 with the first Turkish space probe at an altitude of 130 km, President ERDOĞAN added, “As we launch this rocket with solid-fuel technology, we will hopefully achieve the stage to test it with both solid and liquid fuels. I would like to announce the good news on the start of space trials of the first liquid-fuel rocket engine developed indigenously. We have been carrying out the development activities for hybrid-fuel rocket engines. The high capacity hydrogen battery technology that is a clean source of energy in both space applications and aviation and transportation areas was also developed under the auspices of this center. The global positioning system (GPS) receiver required by guided ammunition systems was developed indigenously for the first time in this center. Additionally, we have been executing activities on the weapon systems that will be adding new capabilities, especially to our security forces. The laser seeker has been integrated into the TRLG-230 missile system. This system we refer to as TRLG- 230 was developed in a way to enable targets to be hit that are marked by UAVs and Armed UAVs from the ground.” 

The Micro Satellite Launch System (MSLS) to be developed to enable Turkey’s independent access to space is being conducted by Roketsan in line with the agreement signed by the Presidency of Defense Industries and Roketsan in 2018. Upon the decree adopted by the Defense Industry Executive Committee in 2012, the establishment of the Space Systems and Advanced Technologies Research Center was assigned to Roketsan by the Presidency of Defense Industries. It is stated that the MSLS Development Project which planned to be completed in 2025, will add the capability to launch microsatellites weighing 100 kg and under into low earth orbit with a minimum altitude of 400 km. Nearly 1,000 Roketsan experts and technicians have been working on this with over 1 million hours contributed so far as part of the MSLS Project. The target of access to space in 4 years by reaching an altitude of 130 km with the first Turkish space probe in 2017 was achieved a year earlier than the scheduled. And, in 2018, the controlled flight of the first Turkish spacecraft was announced. Within the scope of the project with ongoing test activities high capacity hydrogen fuel battery technology is regarded as the clean energy source of the future in terms of space and overall transportation, and a national global positioning system receiver and fiber optic tachometer technologies have been developed. In the program where initially the rockets employing solid-fuel technology were launched to space, the test stage will be initiated with both solid and liquid fuels. To this end, the first space trials of the liquid-fuel rocket engine technology developed indigenously will be launched. The development activities of the hybrid-fuel rocket engines are also in progress. 

The footage of the test-fire that was part of the project to integrate the laser seeker to the TRG-230 Missile System launched by Roketsan in April 2020 was displayed for the first time during the ceremony. The target designated with a laser by a Bayraktar TB2 AUAV manufactured by BAYKAR was successfully hit by the Laser Guided 230mm Missile System (TRLG-230).  The Laser-Guided 230mm Missile System (TRLG-230) is capable of hitting targets designated by UAVs and Armed UAVs from the ground