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SAHA EXPO Held on Istanbul

SAHA EXPO 2018 was held in Istanbul by the Istanbul Defence and Aerospace Cluster this year for the first time. The event was visited by a total of 13,327 people from Turkey and abroad. In addition to the giant main contractor companies offering services in defence, civil aviation and space industries in Turkey, hundreds of companies conducting production in the defence industry and taking part in the supply chain or those wishing to become a part of this supply chain gathered at SAHA EXPO 2018

The SAHA EXPO Defence & Aerospace Industry Exhibition took place on 13-15 September in Istanbul with the participation of 135 companies from defence and civil aviation such as Roketsan, Havelsan, Kale Group, Aselsan, Turkish Aerospace, TUIS, Turkish Technic and Baykar Makina and 24 international companies from 12 countries. 644 B2B meetings were held within the scope of the B2Bs offering building international networks and export opportunities for local producers.  The many visitors to the exposition from numerous countries included Ukraine, Bangladesh, Libya, Jordan, Sudan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, India, Italy, Belarus and Indonesia.

Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK, Principal Consultant to the President, Deputy Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Hasan BÜYÜKDEDE, Vice President of Defence Industries (SSB) Dr. Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ and Chairman of the Board of SAHA Istanbul and Baykar Makina General Manager Haluk BAYRAKTAR attended the opening of SAHA EXPO 2018 in addition to many official invitees.

Minister of Science, Industry and Technology, Mustafa VARANK: “There are No Obstacles that Could not be Overcome with Our Own National and Domestic Power”

Delivering the opening speech of SAHA EXPO 2018, Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK touched upon the importance of the SAHA Istanbul Cluster. Noting that SAHA Istanbul assumed the role of a catalyzer in the production of products with high added value that bear strategic importance, VARANK added that many products were indigenized with the assistance of SAHA Istanbul.  

Sharing his opinion that with the model it developed, SAHA Istanbul would be inspiring every industry, Mustafa VARANK said: “as of 2002, Turkey has scaled up its ratio of indigenization in the defence industry to 65 percent from 24 percent. We attained this momentum with the participation of our companies. I thank all those who believe in the importance of the defence industry, investing in this area and those who adopted defence investments as a national duty. We hold all of you in high esteem. I wholeheartedly believe that from now on we will be seeing more Turkish companies amongst the defence industry companies on a global scale.”

Touching upon the 100-day action plan of the government as well as the support and precaution package, VARANK concluded his speech with the following statements: “We declared that we will be attaching priority to the projects that will be gaining technological superiority for our country and the investments that will reduce the current deficit. In the first stage, we focused on the indigenization of product groups that correspond to our country’s import of US$30 billion. We will be taking steps aiming to capture the paradigm changes in rising technology, steps towards influencing the next 5 to 10 years. Turkey allocates 21 percent of its Defence and Aerospace Industry turnover to R&D. The key criteria of sustaining the competitive capacity are R&D and innovation. While conducting Operation Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield, as a nation we noticed that there are no obstacles that we cannot overcome with our national and domestic power.”   

Principal Consultant to the President and Deputy Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Hasan BÜYÜKDEDE noted that they established SAHA Istanbul four years ago to increase the rate of indigenization in the defence industry. Underlining that SAHA Istanbul became Turkey’s greatest cluster at the point which it has reached today BÜYÜKDEDE added, “I firmly believe that SAHA EXPO will be contributing significantly to the indigenization of Turkey’s defence industry.”

Expressing that they realized the SAHA EXPO exhibition this year for the first time as the SAHA Istanbul Defence and Aerospace Cluster and the exhibition was in fact the reflection of the work they accomplished so far, Chairman of the Board of SAHA Istanbul Haluk BAYRAKTAR stated that the event would be contributing to Turkish industry.

Stating that the SAHA Istanbul cluster they formed with the industrialists of the region conducted leading activities for Turkey’s National Technology Move, BAYRAKTAR continued:  “SAHA Istanbul was founded in 2015 to tap into the industrial potential of the region in the North of Marmara where 54 percent of Turkey’s industrial production is conducted, to make production towards defence and civil aviation industries and with the aim of gaining new companies in the defence industry. We are proud to conduct the opening of the SAHA EXPO Defence and Aerospace Exhibition today after the 3-year long intense efforts of our Cluster which started its path with the aim of gathering the companies in this region with the local and foreign main contractor companies, acting as a bridge between them.”

BAYRAKTAR: “We Aim to Develop Unique Systems”

Expressing that as SAHA Istanbul they strived to develop defence, civil aviation and space industries and to increase the number of local companies conducting production in this area BAYRAKTAR said: “As a country we are exerting utmost efforts to become a country conducting export activities in addition to fulfilling our own requirements. As a result of the efforts we exert and our labor, we continue to grow, develop and mediate the cooperation activities for the benefit of our country. SAHA Istanbul was founded by 27 companies and is Turkey’s greatest cluster with its structure containing 308-member companies and 11 universities. With the number of members reached within such a short period, SAHA Istanbul proceeds on its way as Turkey’s biggest cluster at the same time. I can proudly claim that as we are leaving a period of more than 3 years behind, we are making our mark in great achievements as SAHA Istanbul on the path leading us towards our goals. Our prior target, as I also mentioned in the beginning, is increasing the rate of indigenousness in our defence industry and developing unique systems through enabling more industrialists to be involved in the system in accordance with their own capabilities.”

Also pointing out the developments in the defence industry, BAYRAKTAR said “Today, Turkey has reached the main platform manufacturer capacity with the platforms it developed. Now, we have to proceed from this main platform manufacturing capacity towards gaining depth in technology in components. There are no barriers ahead of us. Because now, instead of fighter jets, trainer jets and helicopters that we procured in order to assemble, we now own the Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV), Armed Unmanned Air Vehicles, Attack helicopters, Trainer jets and battleships that we design and to which we entirely own the intellectual property rights. And this is our most crucial power.” 

SAHA Istanbul Chairman of the Executive Board Haluk BAYRAKTAR concluded his speech with the following words: “There is a very critical dynamism in the defence area in our country and we have to suggest this dynamism as a model to the other industries. If we could own this breakthrough which we refer as the National Technological Advance altogether, we will be able to reach to far better points. Instead of the concepts of foreign countries such as “Industry 4.0”, we are able to reach our goals with our own concepts, our own capabilities and achievements. If we fail to develop our own technology, they will control the computers that control the products manufactured in the production line. And we will not be able to shift the location of any machine without their permission. Therefore, we need to embrace the National Technological Move. We encountered export restrictions, even if we made the payment in advance. They did not deliver the Armed UAV systems to which we made payments. But now we manufacture an Armed UAV system once a week. Therefore, we have to own the National Technological Move.”

Vice President of Defence Industries TÜFEKÇİ: “Our Foreign Dependency Decreases Day by Day” 

Vice President of Defence Industries Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ stated that SAHA EXPO has been a great step for Turkey. Noting that it is aimed to become a country that has proved its global influence in the industry, with its own unique and local defence industry TÜFEKÇİ said, “Proceeding rapidly on this path, our country is part of a significant breakthrough also in the defence industry area, especially in recent years. Through the ongoing projects, our industry and exports have been thriving and external dependency has been diminishing with each passing day. The platforms and systems that are the outcomes of these programs are being utilized at theatre and help our courageous soldiers to fulfill their missions. As we altogether witnessed the instances of this during Operation Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield.” 

TÜFEKÇİ: “We Have to Become a Country that Manages Technology and Competition” 

Statinig that Turkey is now capable of designing and manufacturing its own UAVs, Armed UAVs, Helicopters, MBTs and Vessels Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ added: “Similar with the defence platforms, today we are capable of manufacturing our own mission systems and weapons. However, we never find these developments sufficient and we will never consider them adequate as we have to constantly keep up with the technology at the global scale and maintain that our army is equipped in compliance with the ever changing battle environment. We have to become a country that is capable of managing the technology, even a pathfinder that leads other countries while managing competition.” 

Underlining that in the steps taken towards a unique and local defence industry, Turkey has to cooperate efficiently with the industry, sub – industry, SMEs, research centers, technology companies and universities as well, Dr. TÜFEKÇİ continued, “In order to achieve this, we built the required mechanisms and continue to do so. While we proceed towards our goals gradually as a country, SAHA EXPO 2018 and such events are critical platforms formed to enable us to analyze and assess all these stages and to make us proud.” 

Hosting the SAHA EXPO, Haluk BAYRAKTAR presented plaques to the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK, Vice President of Defence Industries Dr. Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ and Principal Consultant to the President and Deputy Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Hasan BÜYÜKDEDE.

Following the opening ceremony, Minister VARANK and the executives at the protocol toured the exhibition area with the Board Members of SAHA Istanbul. As companies demonstrated their novel products and capabilities to the visitors in the main foyer area, technology management and utilization areas of future technologies were discussed in the Technology Transformation panel with the participation of executives from TÜBİTAK, Aselsan, Havelsan, Turkish Aerospace and Roketsan. Moreover, on the first day of the exhibition, a service agreement was signed on the EYDEP program between SAHA Istanbul and SSTech. 

The Newest Products Unveiled at EXPO

At SAHA EXPO 2018, which was realized in order to reduce foreign dependency in Defence & Aerospace and to foster the involvement of more local companies in the eco-system as suppliers, hundreds of products which Turkey had directly procured from abroad, and which are now  to be manufactured by the local companies in Turkey were exhibited at the Expo.  Turkey’s first indigenous and national 3D laser printer developed by Ermaksan, fire – proof aircraft seat covers developed by Cihan Deri, the world’s most insulating, fire-proof and water repellent material the “Levron Aerogel” developed by Yalteksan (this material can only be manufactured in 4 countries including Turkey at this time), Turkey’s first indigenous and national grenade launcher developed by Ata Silah, BMC’s indigenous engine activities, the system enabling data transfer from unmanned air vehicles to the ground and from the ground to UAVs developed by C-Tech and hundreds of other products were welcomed by the visitors with intense interest. 

Technological Transformation Panel 

Representatives of leading companies of the defence industry gathered at the exhibition in the panel on “Technological Transformation” to discuss topics such as which technologies will be the technologies of the future in defence, & Aerospace and what type of a road map should be pursued for leadership in technological transformation.

Vice President of SSB - Dr. Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ, TÜBİTAK President - Prof. Hasan Mandal, Turkish Aerospace President & CEO - Temel KOTIL, Aselsan Vice President - İbrahim BEKAR, ROKETSAN Vice President - Sartuk KARASOY and Havelsan President - Ahmet Hamdi ATALAY attended the session as panelist which was moderated by the Chairman of the Board of SAHA Istanbul - Haluk BAYRAKTAR. 

TÜBİTAK President Prof. Hasan MANDAL: “We have to Build up Communication and Cooperation Properly as a Technology Manufacturing Country” 

President of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) Prof. Hasan MANDAL also stated that Turkey achieved an increase in the rate of indigenousness in the defence industry from 24 percent to 65 percent, underlining that we need to expand this achievement further towards all other industries. 

Stressing that the companies conducting manufacturing products with added value needed to enhance cooperation and communication MANDAL said, “We stride out as a country manufacturing technology. We need to self-assess in order to achieve this; we have to properly build up communication and cooperation. Besides that, we have to improve our human resources as well. We underline cooperation prior to competition yet we cannot achieve it sufficiently. We have to focus on this point going forward.” 

Vice President of Defence Industries Dr. Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ: “We will Establish the Defence Industry Eco- System Coordination Platform in Line with the 100-Day Action Plan” 

Dr. Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ, Vice President at the Presidency of Defence Industries underlined that they endeavored to improve cooperation and that they failed in interoperability and added that they set the goal of constituting a Defence Industry Eco-System Coordination Platform into the 100-Day Action Plan under the auspices of the President of the Defence Industries. Dr. TÜFEKÇİ continued: “We will be establishing the platform within 100 days. We will be conducting weekly coordination at the lower level, coordination once bi-weekly at the medium level and a monthly coordination at the higher level and we will clear up the problems. We incorporated into our main contractor companies (foundation companies) such as TÜBİTAK, SaSaD (Defence and Aerospace Industry Manufacturers Association), MKEK (Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation) and the representatives of the Military Factories on the side of the Ministry of National Defence to this platform. We are optimistic about this platform.” 

Within an output-based point of view, after the arguments that have been continuing for 20 years on the domestic production of imported parts in the defence industry, we give directives to our companies such as “reveal these unique systems or technologies within 3 years”. This approach is a chain and it is clear that there is a disconnection in this process. This implies a disconnection in the process from the definition of the requirements until the delivery time. So as to avoid this, SSB started to conduct its activities under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. Our Presidency attained the capability of launching projects in the status of a procurement authority. Of course, all our projects are launched upon the decrees of the Defence Industry Executive Committee (DIEC) gathered under the auspices of our President.” 

Stating that they launched activities regarding future technologies within the SSB, Dr.TÜFEKÇİ added: “Recently, we published a request for proposal regarding artificial intelligence. As we proceed in an output-oriented manner, it is not clear where we will integrate this artificial intelligence. We have to identify this thoroughly. Our institutes, companies, software developers with whom we will conduct projects with artificial intelligence will accomplish this, however when we reach the implementation stage at the end, we must form areas where we could use this new technology, build scenarios that could be utilized during operations. As of now, DARPA has already allocated a fund of $US 2 billion merely for artificial intelligence. Our annual R&D budget is 300 million Turkish Liras (est.US$ 60 million). Surely, our actual problem is not the resource, we have to make efficient use of time and build coordination. We already own the capabilities to reveal these. 

Dr. TÜFEKÇİ: “We Will Establish a New TeknoparkNnamed TeknoHAB in the Ankara Aerospace Organized Industrial Zone” 

Expressing that they were working on a new development for revealing cutting-edge technologies around SSTech by involving the main industry companies, Dr. TÜFEKÇİ said: “As we worked on this development, we aimed to build a fund. We need to provide this fund from the Defence Industry Support Fund by courtesy of decision makers. When we glance at the countries achieving this, we see that they accomplished it through the resources derived through the funds they built.  Sweden, Israel and the United States of America achieved it through resources from funds. Almost 95% of resources from funds may go to waste yet with the 5% improvement at that point this resource of funds may multiply 3 or 4 times. You create value.” 

Touching upon the importance of creating circumstances where companies are able to reinforce each other in respect to the eco–system, Dr.TÜFEKÇİ said: “We are establishing technology companies with the partnership of major companies, additionally, at the site of Turkish Aerospace premises, we built the HAB Ankara Aerospace Zone and their activities are proceeding quite rapidly. Within the year 2019, we will be witnessing the establishment of the factories in this zone. At the same time, under the responsibility of our Presidency of Defence Industries we will be establishing a second Teknopark which we name TeknoHAB in the HAB OSB region.” 

Aselsan Vice President İbrahim BEKAR: “Let’s Build New Platforms”

ASELSAN Vice President İbrahim BEKAR stated that Turkey was quite successful in work share in the institutions working to build technology and added value and said, “We are quite good at work sharing yet what we actually need is cooperation.”

Regarding the extension of local technologies, BEKAR expressed his idea of “Keep on building new platforms” and continued: “We need to have our own platforms in order to be able to generate our indigenous technologies. In my opinion the point that our Dear President wishes to underline regarding the domestic automobile issue is this. We worked in the automotive area for many years, yet we failed to exist in the sub components and its breakdowns. We have to strengthen our existence in the platforms in order to make innovations in these areas. If we maintain our progress, we will be able to achieve innovation.” 

Stating that during his employment abroad, there were anthropologists in their team while they developed projects regarding technology, BEKAR said, “When we have a look, anthropologists remain in the teams to comment on technology’s alignment with human life. This is really critical.” 

Turkish Aerospace President & CEO Temel KOTIL: “We Aim to Get 2% of the World’s Helicopter Market” 

Assessing the country’s aerospace industry in the panel, President & CEO of Turkish Aerospace Temel KOTIL stated that Turkey is the seventh country capable of manufacturing and operating its helicopters through its own resources and added that the T625 Multi-Role Helicopter had successfully accomplished its hover flight as scheduled, on 6th September. KOTIL: “When we operated the T625 hover flight, Turkey became the seventh country capable of designing and operating a helicopter. Even South Korea and India failed to achieve flight of their helicopters. They received technical support from other companies.” 

Underlining that the qualified human resources of Turkey were of essential importance in the success of major projects and for the sustainability of achievements, KOTIL stressed that Turkey covered a crucial distance in the development and production of its own helicopters and added that their goal was to get a 2 percent share from the world’s helicopter market. 

KOTIL stated that the Aero Structures Division embodied by Turkish Aerospace operated for both the internal and foreign markets and said: “We carry out business to the internal market around US$150-200 million while our business volume regarding foreign markets is US$ 500 million. We collaborate with major international companies such as Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin. I am just saying that our Vice President, Naki POLAT, ‘If you do not work for companies abroad, and actually conduct this business at home, this figure will increase tenfold’. Conducting the operations under licenses is not sufficient, we have to design and manufacture our novel products by ourselves.” 

Expressing that they were pleased with the government’s support and incentive to the aerospace industry in Turkey, KOTIL added: “More than one third of Turkish Aerospace’s annual revenue of US$2 billion is composed of the funds provided by the Presidency of Defence Industries for prototype development. The other one third portion consists of commercial activities and the remaining one third is acquired through mass production projects such as the T129 ATAK procurement program. We do not lack anything as a project. Yet, we require quality human resources.” 

KOTIL: “We Need Upward of Engineers”

Noting that in order to develop the infrastructure of Turkish Aerospace, they procured 10 thousand core computers and that they adopted the decision to procure a second computer KOTIL said, “We procured all the suites related with this from the Dassault System and Siemens. We own all the software required for our aircraft projects.” 

Underlining that 2,500 people out of the total number of Turkish Aerospace’s staff are engineers, KOTIL continued:  “Last year we employed 450 engineers. We will be employing 750 more engineers this year. And we will employ a thousand engineers next year. We wish to increase the number of our engineers to ten thousand. We need many engineers to accomplish these projects. 10 thousand engineers may sound too much to you, but Lockheed Martin Company makes an annual turnover of US$46 billion thanks to 50 thousand engineers. My duty should be to find out and train the entire number of engineers required to transform Turkey into a player in global aviation”. 

Roketsan Vice President Sartuk KARASOY: “Do the Projects Conducted Prioritize Indigenization? Or do They prioritize Innovation and Game Changing? “

In his speech, Roketsan Vice President Sartuk KARASOY pointed to the following issues: “In order to possess the innovative technologies of the future, we need to catch today’s technologies and we have been exerting great efforts to achieve this. The definition made by NASA, creator of the technological readiness level, does not adapt to Turkey. We have an issue in our country of indigenization, yet the same condition is not valid for NASA. There is no such concept in their strategy. They do not have the issues such as “we cannot manufacture innovative products nor can we procure it from abroad, primarily we have to accomplish this through local resources internally” in their strategy. Therefore we separated our technological road map. We added new features to our technological goals. Do the projects conducted prioritize indigenization? Or do they prioritize innovation and game changing? We have to be aware of these facts in order to prevent wrong management decisions. How do we categorize technology as Roketsan? Innovation or indigenization? On the other hand, we are working on the technologies referred to as “Pull – Push” which we adopted from NASA with another perspective. We are developing the “Pull” technologies, the technology related to a defined requirement, a product of which we mostly know the name, its utilization areas and its future in Turkey. On the other hand, we need to work on the technologies dubbed “Push” as well. Where will we utilize artificial intelligence? Should we work on Quantum Computing? We examine these points additionally. We need to stand close to the “Push” technologies as well. We utilize data links in our products. It is not clear when Quantum Computing will be resolved but when it is eventually solved all the encryptions known to the world will be resolved. Encryptions are utilized in our data links as well.  We do not have very much information on what will evolve and where it will lead, but we cannot stay distant, we should avoid keeping away from the “Push” technologies.” 

Havelsan President Ahmet Hamdi ATALAY: “Quality Should be Our Priority in Human Resources” 

Havelsan President Ahmet Hamdi ATALAY noted that there are three sin qua non critical components in all types of economic activities or industry and added: “Human resources, processes and systems and technology, these three components have to support each other. We need to examine this issue by not only working on the technology but also as a whole with all its aspects. In the reports and SWOT analysis that we prepare, we write down the strengths and weaknesses of our human resources. We have young and dynamic human resources, that is our strength. Yet on the other hand, we have deficiencies in terms of quality and that is our weakness. Within the scope of certain published statistics, as far as I know, Turkey is demonstrated as the third country following India and Japan in terms of a qualified human resources shortage. Most of the time, we come across this situation. In the applications made for a certain position, from time to time we fail to find a proper candidate for the given position among thousands of CVs. Therefore, we strive to fulfill these gaps through our internal training. We have to accept the fact that human resources are our greatest weakness and compared to other factors it is the area which is the hardest to fill the gaps as it requires a certain process and time. In order to enter the list of the World’s greatest 10 economies, besides preventing brain drain, we need to find and transfer people from foreign countries to work in our country. For instance, we are closely collaborating with Pakistan yet we cannot employ a Pakistani engineer. Turkey’s human resources are surely our preference, yet we need to bring other human resources from abroad into our country as well.”

Touching upon the institutions executing regulations, such as the Presidency of Defence Industries, ATALAY continued: “Processes and systems are quite crucial, markets such as defence and aviation are the markets with certain regulations and restrictions. These regulations are being conducted successfully by the SSB in a very efficient manner, in a developing structure. Despite the fact that Havelsan is recognized as a defence industry company, we have other activities in industries besides defence. We acquired almost one third of our revenues from the industries besides defence. For instance, in the Healthcare industry, in an industry where import is intense, there is a need for such structure.”

ATALAY: “We Won a Two-Digit Million USD Business Deal in the Sultanate of Oman by Leaving Thales and Airbus Behind” 

Expressing that Havelsan does not have foreign dependency as it generates software-oriented technology and has had advantages compared to hardware manufacturers with material and component requirements, ATALAY continued, “We own the capability to manufacture all technology in the world, at least as much as others. We focus on how to become competitive and how to sell more instead of searching for ways to accomplish anything in technology. There is a business we assumed from Oman, in open competition we left Airbus and Thales behind and won the tender. We are selling one of our capabilities to the Sultanate of Oman – something which we haven’t sold to the Turkish Armed Forces yet. We hope to sell this product to our Turkish Armed Forces as well. We are accomplishing a two-digit million USD sale. We are generating value added software with the vision of our human resources, with zero input.”

EYDEP Contract Signed Between SAHA Istanbul and Presidency of Defence Industries 

Contract on EYDEP- Industrial Competence Assessment and Support Program was signed between SAHA Istanbul and SSTEK Savunma Sanayi Teknolojileri A.Ş. Vice President of Defence Industries Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ, Chairman of the Board of SAHA Istanbul Haluk BAYRAKTAR, SAHA Istanbul Secretary General İlhami KELEŞ and SSTEK Savunma Sanayi Teknolojileri A.Ş. President and CEO Mustafa GÜRSOY attended the signing ceremony. 

In line with the signed contract, SAHA Istanbul will be executing the EYDEP program on behalf of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) in the cities of Sakarya, Kocaeli, Yalova and Istanbul. Vice President of Defence Industries Celal Sami TÜFEKÇİ stated that since the SSB is located in Ankara, it is not capable of reaching all parts of Turkey. TÜFEKÇİ: “In a way, we are delegating the EYDEP activities to Turkey’s greatest defence and aerospace cluster SAHA Istanbul in Istanbul and the Marmara Region. We will be working together again and in the near future, we have a plan for EYDEP to be an institutional structure instead of a unit operating under the auspices of our Presidency.” 

Through the EYDEP Project and in line with the protocol signed by SAHA Istanbul, the involvement of companies in defence and aerospace projects will be enabled by comprehensively identifying the production competency levels of the companies. The companies that are most likely to manufacture the products required by Turkey yet are not produced will be supported. This contract is the first service agreement made within the scope of EYDEP for the SSB. 

On the second day of the SAHA EXPO, the leading companies of the industry gathered at the panel on “Producing what could not be Produced”. Open to discuss were topics such as, in which type of an eco-system can we produce the indigenous critical products required by the main contractors.  These items were defined in the panel hosting significant company representatives of defence industry giants. ASELSAN Vice President Prof. Sezai ELAGÖZ, ROKETSAN Vice President Sartuk KARASOY, YİTAL A.Ş. General Manager Atakan PEKER, Ermaksan R&D Coordination Supervisor Fatih PITIR and Director of Business Development at HAVELSAN Tahir ÇONKA took part as speakers in the panel moderated by İsmail ARI, the Technology Transfer Office Director at the Özyeğin University. 

Prof. Sezai ELAGÖZ: “Sometimes There are Official Embargoes and Sometimes There are Undeclared Embargoes”

Speaking in the panel held at the SAHA EXPO exhibition, regarding companies within the scope of the Development of International Competition Project, Vice President of ASELSAN Prof. Sezai ELAGÖZ noted that they take delivery of the products in quite long durations at times when conducting import activities and said, “If we bid for a tender in a foreign country, the time schedule of the tender is identified from the outset. The durations for us to take delivery of the products in order to become successful in that tender are predetermined. With such dates, there is no chance for us to bid for that tender.” 

Mentioning that they could not procure products with import restrictions ELAGÖZ said, “we encounter the official embargo and an untitled embargo at times. They do not say frankly, ‘you do not procure these products by us’ but  they extend the delivery schedule of aforementioned products.  What is more critical is that, if we intend to bid for a tender abroad, the time schedule of that tender is determined. The lead time for us to receive those products in order to succeed in the tender are already specified. So, when the delivery period beyond those dates is given then we automatically fall behind the time schedule of such tender.” 

ELAGÖZ expressed that they gained great success when they preferred domestic companies regarding such products and added: “Because at this point without considering mass production problems and competitive prices, we tell the companies to ‘develop this product, I need it’. Then our companies are more capable of seeing their path. Yet there are major rivals facing our companies regarding mass produced products. They sell their products in bulk numbers. We are able to offer the same quality with the same prices and furthermore we offer certain privileges but there are cases where these fail to suffice. And these really cause problems to our supply chain.” 

Stating that they cooperated with 206 supplier companies in 25 areas and with 157 designer companies in 33 different areas, ELAGÖZ underlined that they increased the indigenousness rate to 49.9 percent from 37.7 percent in 2017. 

KARASOY: “We Have to Produce in order to Become a Global Power”

Stating that the point of conducting strategic production should be specially handled, Vice President at ROKETSAN, Sartuk KARASOY underlined that instead of vertical integration, collaboration with the SMEs and sub-contractors as much as possible should be adopted in the defence industry. 

KARASOY: “We do not have a culture accustomed to challenges. We usually like becoming part of a major business, culturally yet instead of conducting that business through facing difficulties we prefer taking the easier path. We have to find companies to assume responsibility in an area where limited production is conducted. You need someone to remain by your side for let’s say 1, 2 or 3 years until you reach 3-5 products that function. These are not such volumes that will finance themselves back after you launch serial production. Therefore, you have to either put up with the return on investment that is extended out over time or set up quite high unit prices. Finding a suitable model here is quite difficult.” 

“You need to be capable of producing in order to become a global power, in a world of globalism” added KARASOY and continued, “Food, energy and defence are the areas where we do not want to be dependent. They are different from the industries such as construction and transportation. We have to learn to prioritize. When you export a product, if you have a good command of the material then another country becomes dependent on you. You first need to secure yourself. When you export, countries become dependent on you. We need to build our policies accordingly.” 

Atakan PEKER: “Technological Developments Occurred with Breakthroughs in Materials”

YİTAL A.Ş. General Manager Atakan PEKER stated that the technology hardware advanced on a triple trivet composed of design, production and material and added, “These three are equally critical yet the material aspect is severely neglected in our country.” 

Mentioning that taking the technological developments in the last 30 years into consideration, their improvement was a result of the technological breakthroughs in materials PEKER said, “If presently everyone is hopping on airplanes as if they were hopping on a dolmush (shared taxi) this is a result of the development in materials. Had there not been any improvements in the materials, it would not be possible to reach the current level of our life standards. Therefore, the material issue is quite crucial.” 

PEKER underlined that material was regarded as a component that would be procured and continued, “Actually, material is a strategic input and we need to consider this as the industry, especially regarding the issue of qualified material. We need a mental transformation in order to be capable of manufacturing such types of products. We have to have a qualified steel and aluminum industry.” PEKER also expressed that the terms indigenous and national need to be defined and that their degeneration should be avoided. 

Tahir ÇONKA: “Havelsan Works with 150 Companies out of 900 Companies Registered in its Business Eco System” 

HAVELSAN Business Development Manager Tahir ÇONKA also stated that they have domestic and national missions in the defence industry and added, “A great deal of responsibility falls upon our SMEs and our small scaled affiliates in manufacturing the products that are not produced. And this has to be organized well.”

Underlining that the most critical resource in indigenous production is human resources, Tahir ÇONKA stated that the second most important factor is confidence. ÇONKA: “We have human resources yet if you lack self-confidence then you cannot achieve it. In my opinion, this is a belief injected into us from foreign countries. And it started to become eradicated since the beginning of the 2000s.” ÇONKA continued: “We cannot handle everything by ourselves, and we do not have to. Havelsan collaborates with 150 companies out of 900 companies registered in our business ecosystem. For instance; when conducting business in Samsun, it asks our companies with which we cooperate in Samsun whether there are any companies there to accomplish that work.”

“In the past, the defence industry adopted an implementation and then it would be applied to other industries. Now it’s the contrary in the USA, but, not in Turkey yet. I believe that presently the defence industry being the driver would be proper. It has to be different in the medium and long terms. I hope we would be able to utilize the technology of a company working on MR,” added ÇONKA.  

The second SAHA EXPO event is planned to be realized in 2020, with a broader participation as it continues to grow, capturing the attention of global players