South Korea and Turkey Ready for the Next Step Turkey is planning a face-to-face meeting with South Korea in February for the ALTAY PowerPack

Organized by the Turkish Defense and Aerospace Industry Exporters` Association (SSI) under the auspices of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the "Global Strategies Conference in Defense and Aerospace Industry `21" was held in Antalya between December 04-05, 2021. At the conference, the export strategies of the defense industry for the next period were discussed in panels and roundtable meetings with the participation of various ministries and sector representatives. According to information shared on export figures at the conference, from January to November, Turkish Defense & Aerospace Exports increased to US$ 2.8 billion and a new record was set when comparing the numbers to previous years. Additionally, the added value of defense industry exports averaged US$ 66.7 per kg in the first 11 months. According to TIM data, it was US$ 48 per kg in 2020 (the figures were down dramatically due to the pandemic) and the average was US$ 62 per kg in 2019. The export results from the first 11 months of this year indicate that Turkish Defense & Aerospace Export sales are on track to close out the year with combined Overseas Sales Revenue exceeding US$ 3.5 billion (which includes foreign exchange generating services figures in 2021; this figure was $378 million in 2019 and includes December export sales). Even in the shadow of several export license restrictions that were imposed by European countries and by the United States, Turkey has demonstrated considerable gains in exports, but undeniably these open or hidden embargoes have prevented these export figures from growing further. Nevertheless, if Turkey commissions critical key technologies over the unique platforms such as the national Main Battle Tank Engine and Transmission over the ALTAY MBT or the unique turboshaft engine over the T129 ATAK Helicopter in five years, the export figures may go beyond these numbers in the following years. As Turkey strives to become a high-profile exporter of Defense and Aerospace products in the world, building relationships with new global partners to broaden the domain and reduce development expenses will be a key area of focus in order to cultivate new opportunities for future export expansion. In light of these views, on the first day of the conference, the President of Defense Industries, Prof. Dr. İsmail DEMİR held a Q&A session about the global strategies in defense exports which were discussed with sector representatives, government institutions, and members of the exporters` assembly. Over a period of two days various panels and roundtable meetings were conducted which were closed to the press and updated information about the Turkish defense programs was provided. The Chairman of Turkish Exporters` Assembly İsmail GÜLLE and Vice President of Defense Industries Faruk YİĞİT were also present at the meeting. Prof. DEMİR stated that they achieved a significant increase in 2021 compared to the previous year and said: "As you know, our export figures are constantly increasing. We previously noted that we exceeded US$3 billion. We are currently at US$2.8 billion in the first 11 months. We achieved a 41% increase compared to the previous year. Last year was a somewhat extraordinary period. The effects of the pandemic, especially the stagnation in the aviation sector, affected our results. Hopefully, we expect to exceed US$3 billion this year. Of course, we export to a wide variety of countries. We have exported 228 types of defense industry products to 170 countries, and the export figure per kg was much higher than Turkey`s average." İsmail GÜLLE, Chairman of Turkish Exporters` Assembly, said that Turkish Defense Industry exports have an added value per kilogram well above Turkey`s average as a sector, with high technology products. GÜLLE stated that Defense Industry Exports produced an added value of US$66 per kilogram, compared to an added value of US$1.44 based on all sectors in October when Turkey`s average is considered. After these briefings, the question-answer session started. At the press conference, President of Defense Industries İsmail DEMİR answered questions about the LHD Anadolu, ALTAY Main Battle Tank (MBT), engines to be supplied from the United States for the National Combat Aircraft (TF-X) and HÜRJET projects, the sale of HÜRKUŞ to Azerbaijan, and the export of the T129 ATAK Helicopter to Pakistan. DEMİR: "We are planning to commission LHD ANADOLU as It was originally designed." Noting that they are planning to deliver the LHD ANADOLU in the first quarter of 2022, Prof. DEMİR said, "We are working to deliver the ship in early 2022. We believe it would be possible to install some of the detailed equipment of the ship during her service. We are pushing to see if she might be commissioned sooner. Nevertheless, our project for deploying UAVs/UCAVs on the ship also continues. We are planning to commission the LHD ANADOLU as it was initially designed and integrate the BAYRAKTAR TB3 later when it is matured and becomes ready." DEMİR: "We are planning a face-to-face meeting with our Korean counterparts in february." Prof. DEMİR shared details about the current activities for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties of both countries following the signing of the Letter of Intent (LoI) in Seoul last month for the procurement of the ALTAY PowerPack from Korea, "Due to the COVID Pandemic, there was a considerable slowdown on the Korean side. The PowerPack issue was discussed again during the visit of our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the necessary agreements were signed for the export permit. Then there is the issue of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). We had various conversations with our Korean Counterparts over the tele-conference. We are planning a face-to-face meeting with them in February to discuss the signing issue. Korean authorities informed us that they had overcome the temporary slowdown caused by the pandemic, and they will accelerate the process again by taking high-level initiative. They stated that it took some time to establish coordination because multiple companies were involved in the process." DEMİR: "In a month or two, we will integrate the engine and transmission in the BATU Powerpack Project." In response to a question about whether the first start-up test of the BATU PowerPack, which was developed with national resources for the ALTAY Main Battle Tank, was carried out, President of Defense Industries Prof.İsmail DEMİR pointed out that the powerpack consists of engine and transmission, and shared the following information: "Developing a transmission is a bit more challenging in terms of capabilities in Turkey, we stated that. The good news is that we started the tests of both the engine and the transmission in our 1,000 hp powerpack, and now the tests continue on the test bench as an integrated powerpack. In other words, the engine was developed first, then the transmission. In the 1,500 hp powerpack, the engine is currently running on the test bench, while the transmission has reached the stage of integration. We will integrate the engine and the transmission in a month or two. In other words, our national powerpacks are currently in the testing phase. Of course, as you know, this test process takes quite a long time. The powerpacks will be tested for hundreds of hours by changing various parameters." DEMİR: "The RFP for the TF-X Domestic Engine Production is a new step in our national engine development process." Speaking about the TF-X Engine Development Project Phase-II tender process President of Defense Industries Prof.İsmail DEMİR also shared information about the procurement of the F-110 Turbofan Engines for TF-X and the F404 Turbofan Engines for HürJet from the United States. "We will start with the F-110 engine in the National Combat Aircraft (Turkish Fighter/TF-X) Program. We said that we would roll out our first aircraft with it, and there is no change in this regard. We do not have a problem with engine procurement at the moment. Our Request for Proposal (RFP) is different from the classic RFPs. It is actually a study to determine Turkey`s domestic engine development capabilities. This RFP aims for potential players in Turkey`s national jet engine journey to come together and create a roadmap where all the existing capabilities in Turkey regarding domestic engine production are on the table and create a strategy together. Because Turkey does not have a comprehensive history in this matter, we do not have many experienced engineers and designers. That is why we do not have the luxury of dividing the process into three or four parts, so we must combine our capabilities and work together in a coordinated manner. We have manufacturing capabilities, TEI has demonstrated significant manufacturing capabilities. Further material research and manufacturing techniques are being studied, but the RFP we mentioned is a new step in our national engine development process. There is no problem with the HürJet engine at the moment. As a matter of fact, we started this project with a guarantee, so to speak, that there will be no problem from the very beginning. In that respect, we did not make an alternative plan. We do not expect any trouble because of the promises made. Responding to a question on whether the export restrictions to Pakistan have been lifted considering the Chairman of Sarsilmaz Latif Aral ALİŞ`s statement of, "We will deliver 30 guns for the ATAK Helicopters to be exported next year," during the visit of the Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK to the Sarsılmaz Weapons Factory and TR Mekatronik company in Düzce province, President Prof. DEMİR said, "We have already started a joint development project for ATAK`s nose-mounted cannon, and it has reached a certain maturity. We started this project as a precautionary measure, not because there is a procurement problem with the gun. We aim to localize all risky elements. Our aim of a 100% locality rate in the Defense Industry is for critical technologies and systems that may cause problems in the future. Otherwise, we always state that the 100% locality rate down to the smallest component is not rational and cost-effective. No one in the world does this in the defense industry. But it is vital for us to create an absolutely 100% domestic capability, especially for advanced technologies, strategic products, or products that are not multi-sourced and likely to cause problems with foreign dependency. The Pakistan issue was related to the engine; the gun was not a problem in that respect." When asked whether the HİSAR-O+ System will be delivered before the end of 2021, President of Defense Industries Prof.DEMİR said, "The delivery process of HİSAR-O+ are on track. The acceptance process has a formal course. It takes place after certain inspections. In other words, even if the system is ready, there are certain system checks, orientation training, etc., that must be done before it is delivered to the user. We can deliver the system at the end of the year if we want to, but we do not rush the process. It may exceed the end of the year." DEMİR: "Deliveries of the ATMACA Missile Have Begun, AKYA Torpedoes Will Be Delivered in 2022" President Prof. DEMİR also shared information about the latest situation in the development and delivery of the ATMACA, AKYA, and the National Vertical Launching System (MİDLAS) developed by Roketsan for naval platforms and the missiles to be used in this system. "Deliveries of the ATMACA missile have begun. AKYA`s launch test was carried out with the test torpedo. AKYA Heavyweight Torpedoes will be delivered in 2022. Development of the Vertical Launching System also continues successfully on its own schedule, so when our naval platform (MİLGEM-5) is ready to enter the inventory, it will be ready too. Domestic missiles will be used in MİDLAS"

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