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The Steady Rise of Turkey’s Unmanned Systems and Autonomous Vehicles

With the global spotlight on the development of UAVs and Autonomous Systems, Turkey’s defense industry companies demonstrate their prowess with forward-thinking products, geared toward a network centric operational warfare concept, with new designs focused on interoperability, modularity, communication systems, intelligence utilization, autonomy and weapon systems

The “Unmanned and Smart Systems Workshop” in which visions for the Unmanned and Smart Systems for Land, Marine and Air Vehicles were shared, and the “Roboik - Unmanned and Autonomous Land Vehicles Design Competition Award Ceremony” were held at Bilkent Hotel in Ankara on 14th December

The workshop was held in Ankara on 14th December and the Undersecretary for Defense Industries Prof. İsmail Demir and representatives of various defense industry companies participated in the event. The opening speech of the workshop was delivered by Mr. Gökhan Uçar - Department Head of the Unmanned and Smart Systems at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. Mr. Uçar made an overall presentation on the activities conducted by the Undersecretariat, nationalized sub systems and visions on the future. Mr. Uçar stated that while the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries continued to fulfil the existing requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces, and as a result of the consultations conducted with the stakeholders, they pursued their strategic activities to develop the systems of the future in accordance with the operational requirements of the next decade.

Intervention - Protection and Logistical Unmanned and Smart Systems will Stand Out in the Upcoming Decade

In the presentation it was underscored that Armed Reconnaissance and Attack, Close Air Support, Air Defense Support, Target Identification, Detection and Marking, Riot Control Systems will stand out in the next ten years, while concepts relating to Search and Rescue, Medical Response, Engineering, Mine Sweeping and Neutralization, Bomb Disposal, Fire Extinction and Facility Safety relating to Protection, Transportation of Ammunition and Military Equipment as well as Combat Engineering concepts related to logistics would continue to gain importance.   

Department Head at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries Mr. Gökhan Uçar’s presentation also featured unique Unmanned and Autonomous systems which have been developed and are in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces as well as the sub systems nationalized as a result of such development programs. In the presentation, it was mentioned that critical sub systems were nationalized such as Ground Control Station, Data Link, Remote Video Terminal, Satellite Ground Terminal, Engine, Image Processing, EQ/IR Camera, SAR, Wide Area Surveillance, Mission planning Software, Ammunition, Flight Control Computer, Autopilot and Automatic Take-Off and Landing Systems. 

Addressing the participants in his opening remarks, Undersecretary for Defense Industries Prof. İsmail Demir underlined that human resources were one of the most critical issues regarding the defense industry.  He stated that the workshop would provide significant input to the formation of human resources specific in this area and that it will contribute to the formation of the road map as well.

The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries has worked toward the training and development of human resources for the defense industry.  Prof. Demir noted that the Defense Industry Academy launched the Defense Industry Youth Project which includes Middle School, High School and University students to direct the dynamic structure of youth towards new technologies, enhancing their awareness while raising the national conscience and self-confidence.

Panel 1 - Vision Sharing of Land Vehicles 

Following the opening remarks, the Panel on Land Group’s Vision Sharing commenced, moderated by Mr. Ahmet Raci Yalçın - Project Manager at the Land Vehicles Department of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. In attendance as panelists were BMC Project Manager Mr. Doruk Akyıldız, Program Manager in charge of New Projects at FNSS Company Mr. Koray Ulu and Unmanned Land Vehicles Project Manager at Aselsan’s Unmanned Systems Projects Directorate Mrs.Çiğdem Şen Özer.

BMC Project Manager Mr. Doruk Akyıldız: “Amazon Vehicle – The firing tests of the Sarp Dual Stabilized Advanced Remote Weapon Platform have recently been accomplished in Qatar”

The first panel lasted for 30 minutes and the question and then answer session began. Initially BMC Project Manager Mr. Doruk Akyıldız took the floor and made a presentation on BMC’s approach to unmanned systems and their activities. Mr. Akyıldız said, “BMC conducts activities on vehicle design and manufacturing as well as system integration. As you may also see on the slide presentation, we do not yet own an autonomous system activity that renders our vehicles unmanned. We are working on achieving the smooth operation of our systems and sub systems in our vehicles. Currently we are capable of integrating the Aselsan - Sarp Dual Stabilized Advance Remote Weapon Platform to all our vehicles. Within this context, in Qatar we recently have accomplished the firing tests of the Aselsan’s Sarp Dual Stabilized Advance Remote Weapon Platform over our Amazon vehicle.”

Mr. Akyıldız underlined that two critical unmanned systems would be integrated to the Kirpi MRAP vehicles as part of the New Generation Kirpi MRAP project signed on 8 August 2017 at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries and he shared crucial information on this program with the participants: “Two major unmanned systems which are the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Vehicle and the Improvised Explosive Detection and Disposal Vehicle will be integrated within this program.  The robotic arm, to be integrated to the vehicles and the systems enabling the remote control of the vehicle, were developed by Aselsan. Moreover, Kirpi-2 vehicles will be equipped with the Sarp Dual Stabilized Advance Remote Weapon Platform. 

Robotic Arm to Strengthen the New Generation Kirpi MRAPs

The robotic arm, that had been displayed in its prototype stage for the first time at IDEF 2017 at BMC’s booth, will be integrated with the Kirpi-2 MRAP vehicles.  These vehicles will be procured in line with the requests stated by the Turkish Armed Forces within the framework of the tender specifications and the responsibilities of BMC. Improvised explosives, mines and suspicious objects will be detected and destroyed with the help of the 8-meter long arm that will be integrated to the front of the vehicles. The system is controlled onboard and capable of lifting a maximum of 200 kg.  It will have the following capabilities: Radar which is integrated to the end of the arm and capable of detecting cables and penetrating into the ground (Mini GPR), Imaging Cameras, Image Recording System, Cable Cutter Apparatus, Rake Equipment, Close Distance Imaging at the end of the arm, camera placement configuration for situational awareness at the rear of the arm, water ball equipment for responding suspicious objects, grip composite telescopic arm accessory for providing surveillance and intervention capabilities to its user within culvert, etc.

New Generation Kirpi-2 Vehicles Remote Controlled through the Portable Command Unit

Within the New Generation Kirpi-2 vehicle program, two new vehicles will utilize remote control of the vehicles through the portable command unit which is developed by Aselsan   It will enable unmanned utilization with the help of the Tactical Vehicle Command Kit which will be procured as part of the program.  It will be conducted and managed by personnel with the portable command unit located within the vehicle which can follow behind if required.

With the help of the Tactical Vehicle Command kit with a minimum of 500 m of (LOS) communication distance; the vehicle and payload capabilities can be remote controlled; In addition, the cameras will provide vehicle image transfer and recording. The images received from the cameras can be transferred to the portable protection unit as a single or sectional image with 4 images. The detection and destruction of the improvised explosives and mines will be conducted securely through the robotic arm that will be placed on the front of the two unmanned Kirpi-2 vehicles which planned are planned for procurement. This project is expected to be completed within 2018.

BMC Project Manager “120 mm Automatic Mortar System will be integrated to BMC’s ‘Vuran’ Vehicle”

BMC Project Manager Mr. Akyıldız mentioned that they also worked on a third system with Aselsan and added: “We will be integrating the 120 mm Automatic Mortar System to our ‘Vuran’ vehicle. By integrating this system to our vehicle, we will mobilize the mortar system. Therefore, after the target is fired, the vehicle will be able to swiftly displace its location when the position of the vehicle is detected and thus protect itself. We aim to complete this prototype in the second half of January 2018.”

FNSS Project Manager in charge of New Products Mr. Koray Ulu: “When the Land Vehicle Manufacturers design the sub systems interoperable with the sensor technologies, the Autonomous Armored Vehicles Era will start in Turkey.”

Program Manager in charge of new products at FNSS, Mr. Koray Ulu, enlightened the audience on the unique solutions and concepts developed in the world regarding unmanned and smart systems. “Hybrid vehicles will dominate the market from 2030 onwards. When we analyze the breakdown of this report, Hybrid Vehicles are expected to have a 28% share in the market, while gasoline powered vehicles will probably have 25%, electric vehicles 20%, plug-in hybrid vehicles 18% and diesel vehicles would take 9% of the market. Especially as a result of the investments made, battery technologies have become more cost efficient and we will be able to see more of those vehicles on the roads in the future”, said Mr. Ulu.

Mr. Ulu noted that as FNSS they aimed to establish an infrastructure in which improved sensor technologies could be easily integrated to their vehicles and added that when the main contractors active in the Turkish Military Land Vehicles industry designed the products of the company such as Aselsan - a pioneer in Turkey in this area - interoperable with their own sub systems, the era of the autonomous armored vehicles would start in Turkey as well.

Unmanned Land Vehicles Project Manager at Aselsan’s Unmanned Systems Project Directorate Mrs. Çiğdem Şen Özer informed participants about Aselsan’s activities regarding unmanned systems, its future projections and investments. 

Mrs. Özer expressed that within the scope of unmanned systems, Aselsan identified a method that developed and matured the identified technological constituents and determined concepts by testing them over the testing platforms and continued: “These technological constituents can be defined as follows. Detection, autonomy, self-operation capability, environment modelling, mapping, mission planning and self-determination and implementation and communicating with other systems within the environment and joint operation capability, which are quite crucial constituents for us. Throughout our studies and activities spanning more than 10 years, we developed these technological constituents by testing them over the unmanned platforms.”

Stating that they launched these activities with the “İzci” demo-vehicle in 2005, Mrs. Özer said that they designed the first tracked concept demonstration “Gezgin” vehicle in 2010 for reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence aims. Sharing with the audience the unmanned autonomous land vehicle development programs following 2010, Mrs. Özer said: “Our “Magic” vehicle which we developed in 2010 in a contest taking place in America was shortlisted. Then we started to develop the “Kaplan” Unmanned Land Vehicle Group in line with the requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces and our security forces. The vehicles of the Kaplan group are capable of carrying various payloads in accordance with various missions in rugged terrain. In 2014, we designed the Kaplan improvised explosive detection robot and our Kaplan Bomb Disposal robot was developed following this achievement and currently these robots are being procured by our National Police, and we have launched the deliveries.”

Aselsan Preparing to Build Unique Improvised Explosive Detection Robot with Unique Sensor

Delivering information on Aselsan’s road map regarding this area, Mrs. Özer stressed that they would be intensifying their activities for rendering the platforms unmanned in the upcoming period and continued: “We are capable of rendering all types of platforms in the Turkish Armed Forces’ inventory unmanned. We have no restrictions on any platforms. In the upcoming period we will be particularly concentrating on the tactical armed unmanned land vehicles. On the other hand, we are willing to reveal the unique Improvised Explosive Detection Robot, the sensor of which was developed by Aselsan in 2019. In addition to this, tiny disposable robots that could be launched and could provide intelligence also remain on our agenda. Within the scope of the requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces, we will focus on the development programs of the man-portable robots.

Following the completion of the presentations was the Q&A session of the Unmanned Land Vehicles Vision Sharing panel. In this session, the importance of the communication between the developed sensor technologies was underlined and it was stated that various tests were being held over the platforms to this end. In this session where the level reached by the rivals in the world was also discussed, the common approach of the panelists was that Turkey did not lag behind in any of the technologies and it was stated that both NATO’s working groups and other developments in the world were closely followed. It was also mentioned that a crucial infrastructure began to emerge in Turkey and that the level of awareness increased each day while critical incentives and supports were provided by the government.

Panel 2 - Vision Sharing of the Air Platforms

Prior to the lunch break, the Air Platforms Group’s Vision Sharing panel took place and was moderated by Mr. Oğuz Özbal - Tactical and Special Purposed Unmanned Systems Project Manager at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. Mr. Murat Koç from Altınay, Mr. Tayyar Süngü from Baykar and Mr. Nevzat Polat from TAI participated in this session as panelists.

Altınay Business Development Manager Mr. Murat Koç informed the audience on the products developed by Altınay regarding Unmanned Air Vehicles and the products in utilization as well as the future vision of the company. Mr. Koç said, “We have been conducting an exemplary cooperation with Aselsan in the development and production of an air platform which was delivered to Turkish Armed Forces in considerable amounts. Actually, our competence in this air vehicle covers the whole system. We have far-reaching competency in a wide variety of areas covering the autopilot software technology, mechanic design, sensor technologies, engine drive electronics and detection and collision avoidance sensors.”

Mr. Koç stated that Altınay Company’s Y6-850 platform capable of carrying 1 kg payload with an endurance of 30 minutes was off the shelf and added that their activities as part of the “Tepegöz” project and “PTT’s drone” project were carried out with relevant institutions. He underlined that, within the scope of Altınay’s vision activities, they continued to execute the Mini Class UAV program which will be capable of conducting operation, serial operation, kamikaze UAV and Search and Rescue tasks and he stated that they planned to reveal the prototype of this Mini Class UAV within 2018.

Altınay to Introduce X4-S Mini and X4-700 Middle Class UAV Systems in 2018

X4-S mini UAV with 1 kg take-off weight will be capable of carrying payloads and have a LOS encrypted digital communication range of 2 km. With the help of its smart battery system, advanced level image fixation system and rapid installation, it will provide its user an operational flexibility in the operation environment. 

Underlining that they also continued activities regarding Area/Convoy Security, Control and Mapping and X4-700 Middle Class UAV capable of taking off and landing over vehicles, Mr. Koç shared that this system will have an endurance of 60 minutes with its 5 kg take-off weight and 1 kg of  payload capacity, and that it will be able to conduct an uninterrupted flight with its wired version that can be used over the vehicle. He stated that they intended to conduct the maiden flight of this product’s first prototype in 2018.

Mr. Koç stated that the X8 system, which is currently going through concept activities, with triple redundant auto pilot and high carrying capacity will be able to carry a 15 kg payload with its take-off weight of 35 kg and he added that they will be revealing this system in 2018 as well.

Finally concluding that they launched the conceptual activities for the UAV Class with VTOL fixed wings, Mr. Koç stated that they aimed to form a VTOL fixed wing UAV group that can land on and take-off from vessels, transport ammunition and conduct launches.  He stated that they intended to conduct the first flight of this UAV after 2019.

Bayraktar Tactical UAV System Surpassed the 35,000 Flight Hours

Delivering a presentation on behalf of Baykar, Retired Major General Tayyar Süngü presented critical information on the activities accomplished by Baykar from past to present, the latest status of the systems within the inventory and on the plans for the upcoming period. Mr. Süngü said, “As Baykar, we reached this point today from a tough path and we worked hard, our main approach here was to gain success without external dependency. In 2004, we accomplished the first national guidance system of Turkey. Simultaneously we completed the first national auto-pilot system through our own resources and young minds. If we did not accomplish these activities, we would be confronting problems in procurement and sustainment. With the vision put forth here, Baykar formed a dynamic R&D team. Today, 330 engineers and technicians with an average age of 30 years are working 7/24. With this team, we achieved numerous unique avionic systems nationally.”

Expressing that a total of 38 Bayraktar TB2 platforms within the inventories of the Turkish Armed Forces, National Police and Gendarmerie General Command completed 35,000 hours of flight, Mr. Süngü added that 15 Armed Bayraktar TB2 have been successfully fulfilling their missions.

In his presentation, Mr. Süngü touched upon Baykar’s vision for the future including the changing UAV concepts and approaches and said: “The TB2 platform we developed remains in the tactical class, however with the medium altitude at which it operates, and its endurance and mission, this platform slides towards the operative MALE class. With the changing concept, the conventional approach is changing too and with this new approach UAVs are now being categorized according to their mission planning. With its network centric warfare concept that has been gaining more importance in the operation environment of our times, the systems will now communicate with each other and this would create a crucial awareness at the command level. With the help of the acceleration of the decision-making processes, the quality and level of the command control processes will increase as well. When we analyze the UAV systems of the future, we see that concepts such as interoperability, modularity, communication systems, the protected usage of the data transfer in the electromagnetic spectrum and intelligence utilization, autonomy and weapon systems will stand out.”

Stating that they launched their activities for the Attack UAV System (Akıncı) project, Mr. Süngü added that they have planned for the maiden flight this UAV soon.  

Baykar- Attack UAV System to Carry 900 kg External and 450 kg Internal Payloads

On the slide projected on the screen during the presentation, the technical features of the Baykar’s Attack UAV system were displayed as follows: 24 hours of endurance at 40,000 thousand ft service ceiling, 900 kg external – 450 kg internal payload capacity with 5 tons of take-off weight, Single/Dual Turboprop Engine Drive and LOS/ SATCOM data network. The Attack  UAV System will be capable of conducting Electronic Warfare, SAR Reconnaissance, Signal Intelligence, EO/IR reconnaissance, Ammunition Transportation and Wide Area Surveillance missions.

First Delivery of the Anka Block- SIB Configuration Completed

System Engineering Director at TAI UAV Systems General Directorate Mr. Nevat Polat made a presentation on TAI’s UAV systems and capabilities.

Mr. Polat said, “Anka system does not consist of a single system, instead it has various blocks. Initially, there is our Anka Block-A system which was developed uniquely and the maiden flight of which was conducted in 2010 and then the acceptance tests were successfully accomplished in February 2013. Following this one, the additional payload, radar/intelligence systems were integrated and we developed the Anka Block-B system and then in the next stage there is our Anka Block-S system having the Satellite Communication.”

Additional capabilities of the Anka UAV system compared to similar systems were shared with participants during the projected presentation. Noting that they accomplished the first firing of the Armed Anka System in May 2013, Mr. Polat added that they conducted the maiden flight of the Block-B system capable of carrying SAR payloads, with 24 hours of endurance at 30,000 ft of altitude to which they added additional capabilities in January 2015 and that the acceptance tests were executed in October 2016.  He commented that they revealed the Block-S (first system under qualification stage) to which critical systems such as Satellite control, radio relay, encrypted communication, HD EO/ IR payload, National IFF, etc. were added, as part of the Anka-S program. Mr. Polat also mentioned that they built a Signal Intelligence configuration named Block-SIB in which radar and electronic warfare systems exist and advanced base concept and central control are in effect, for the signal intelligence tasks derived from the Block-B group.

In one of the slides in the presentation, the completion of the Block - SIB configuration’s first delivery was announced, and it was also disclosed to participants that the first system of the Block-S configuration was under the qualification stage with its user.

Teber-81 and Teber-82 Ammunitions to be Integrated to Anka System

The presentation informed the audience that the Anka system supported payload integration in different types with the help of the wide payload compartment and its weight capacity. According to this, the payload options of the Anka System were examined under three categories composed of Reconnaissance Surveillance Systems, Signal Intelligence and Weapon Systems.

Following topics were presented: Under the Reconnaissance Surveillance title; EO/IR/LD/LRF Camera System, SAR/GMTI-ISAR Camera and Wide Area Surveillance System; under the Signal Intelligence title; COMINT/DF, ELINT/ESM, HVAS; and under the title of Weapon Systems the 2,75 Laser Guided “Cirit” missile, the integration activities of which were completed, MAM-L and MAM-C missiles and Teber 81/82 general-purposes bombs which were shared for the first time with the public opinion and currently are under integration activities.

Extending information on the new platforms within their projections for the upcoming period, Mr. Polat stated that the development activities of the UAV system with a much greater payload capacity and HALE system continued and that they planned to conduct the maiden flight of the 3 tons Weight UAV system capable of carrying 800 kg of payload, in 2019. Mr. Polat mentioned that they aimed to make the HALE UAV system capable of carrying 300 kg of payload with 5.5 tons of take-off weight with longer endurance at higher altitudes.

Panel 3 – Vision Sharing of Land Platforms Group 

The Vision Sharing of the Land Platforms Group took place during the second half of the day. This session was moderated by one of the consultants of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries Mr. Özden Özben, and Mr. Yusuf Öztoprak from Katmerciler, Mr. Melih Şahin from Nurol Makine A.Ş. and Mr. Korkut Kibaroğlu from Otokar attended as panelists.

As the first speaker of the session, Manager of Defense Products Marketing Segment at Katmerciler Mr. Yusuf Öztoprak made a presentation on the activity areas, products, capabilities and future vision of Katmerciler. Mr. Öztoprak mentioned that Katmerciler conducted activities regarding vehicle equipment in the civilian field while manufacturing tactical wheeled armored vehicles in the defense area and added that the company was expanding more each day with the unique solutions it developed regarding the defense industry.

Emphasizing that Katmerciler has also been investing in remote controlled Armored Tracked Excavator & Articulated Wheel Loader and unmanned autonomous land vehicles, besides the Tactical Wheeled Armored Vehicles, Mr. Öztoprak conveyed information to the participants on the Remote Controlled Firing Platform (UKAP) which was introduced at IDEF as well. Mr. Öztoprak: “As a result of the recent conflicts that emerged particularly in the urbanized terrain in Turkey, we determined to develop the UKAP platform. To this end, we launched the unmanned autonomous land vehicles development programs in 2016. The standard UKAP platform we developed is 2 meters in length and 1 meter high. This hydraulic and electrical platform lasts for 5 hours with battery and operates for 8 hours when supported with a generator. Its dry weight is 1.1 tons and it is capable of carrying approximately 2 tons of payload.”

UKAP was Displayed for the first time at IDEF 2017 

UKAP, all functions of which can be remotely controlled, was designed as a multifunctional vehicle with firing, surveillance as well as recovery operations. 

UKAP is a tracked platform defined as a “genuine requirement for engagement areas” capable of reaching a speed of 25 km per hour and continuously operating for a duration of five hours. Delegations from land forces scrutinized and obtain information about the Weapon Platform. In the beginning of the design process, the vehicle was initially planned to be manufactured as a firing platform and now Aselsan’s Remote Controlled Stabilized Weapon System is mounted over it.

Designed in a modular structure, UKAP can concurrently be used for reconnaissance and surveillance through thermal or sensor mobile cameras and for dispatching ammunition of military units. UKAP can also be utilized for recovery of injured troops and security forces that are caught in the crossfire and the vehicle is expected to become an important solution minimizing casualties in-theater.

Development studies geared toward enabling the UKAP platform to function as a task force in urbanized terrain and operational regions and those related to the platforms’ integrated operations continue. Within the scope of the development project, a different configuration of the platform is aimed to be used as a mine clearance vehicle.

As part of the development of autonomous land vehicles the company has projected that two configurations in particular would stand out; Öztoprak added, “We believe that two important roles will be assigned to these vehicles in the short run. The less autonomous and cost-efficient systems with high firing capacities and effective reconnaissance capabilities will stand out in the inner city and forestry where the possibility of ambushes are higher. From the logistical perspective, interest in quiet, highly autonomous and cost-efficient vehicles capable of carrying ammunition, equipment and injured people will be increasing. We believe that in the upcoming period, cost-efficient Remote-Controlled Platforms, the parts of which could be easily changed, and which could be sacrificed during the operations, would be used more.”

Nurol Makina A.Ş Delivered 500 “Ejder Yalçın” Armored Vehicles to Procurement Authorities 

Making a presentation on behalf of Nurol Makina A.Ş., Deputy General Manager of Administrative and Financial Affairs Mr. Kemal Uyar stated that with the tactical wheeled armored vehicles designed with innovative technologies, Nurol Makina A.Ş. contributed greatly to the defense industry and to our country and informed the audience on the general structure of the company. Mr. Uyar said, “As of 2017, the number of Nurol Makina’s employees reached 474 and 1/4 of this number is composed of engineers. In order to reveal innovative platforms, we are allocating 10% of our overall budget to R&D investments.” 

Stating that they manufactured various tactical wheeled vehicles in different configurations, Mr. Uyar underlined that “Ejder Yalçın” became a brand in armored vehicles and told that this vehicle was preferred by many different users due to both the platform’s superior performance values and the sub systems it was equipped with featuring security components. In his speech, Mr. Uyar emphasized that they delivered 500 “Ejder Yalçın” Armored Vehicles to the procurement authorities thus far.

Noting that the Ejder Yalçın Armored Vehicle proved itself in numerous test environments in North Africa, Middle East, Turkic Republics and even in Balkan countries and that it displayed superior performance in these test environments Mr. Uyar added, “We are capable of integrating Anti-Tank Guided Missile, Cirit and SARP Remote Controlled Weapon Systems to our vehicles upon the requirements of our customers.”

‘NMS 4x4 New Generation Light Armored Vehicle’ Armor Level can be Adjustable According to User Requirements

Sharing his expectations for the upcoming period with participants, Mr. Uyar noted that they have continued their investments in line with the feedback from the procurement authorities, the technological road map of the Undersecretariat and according the technological developments on global scale. Mr. Uyar added, “We unveiled our NMS 4x4 modular New Generation Light Armored Vehicle last May. The armor of the vehicle can be adjusted to different levels varying from 1 to 4 in accordance with customer requirements. The armor level enables adjustments. With its lightweight and superior maneuver capability as well as easy configuration change feature, it can swiftly cater to the requirements of the procurement authorities. Our production activities for the procurement authorities abroad continue.”

Stating that they benefited from the unmanned systems and semi-autonomous systems in order to keep up with the various requirements of the procurement authorities Mr. Uyar continued, “We are carrying out our activities with our stakeholders toward crested in urbanized terrain especially in the danger zone and border security and also for efficiently accomplishing missions. By launching projects such as “Tepegöz” that enables the transfer of the images to the vehicle’s interior, which is the unmanned air vehicle capable of conducting wireless flights or flights over the vehicle through a cable, we enable the user to effectively conduct different missions in-theater.”

Underscoring that customer requirements played a significant role in Nurol Makina’s perspective of autonomous systems, Mr. Uyar added that within this context, all Nurol Makina’s tactical wheeled armored vehicles featured semi-autonomous characteristics and that both the deployment and management of the vehicles and the control of the disposable loads over the vehicle from 5 km distance could be accomplished. Mr. Uyar mentioned that they had a crucial goal in front of them regarding this issue and said that they are eager to launch a fully autonomous vehicle at IDEF 2019.

Presentating on behalf of Otokar, Mr. Korkut Kibaroğlu noted that as a company developing tactical wheeled armored vehicles and weapon systems including the Main Battle Tank, Otokar has been conducting activities for integrating the autonomous and semi-autonomous systems to their systems and continued: “In the first stage, we wish to manufacture semi-autonomous vehicles that could control the vehicles externally and then in the following stages we aim to manufacture vehicles where all tasks are fulfilled by the vehicle autonomously. We can summarize our goal within this framework as implementing the technologies that maintain the driving safety of the classical manned armored vehicles into our vehicles and establishing the infrastructures of the autonomous vehicle technologies in our facilities.”

Mr. Kibaroğlu underlined that more responsibilities were assigned in the classical approach to the drivers of the Armored Military Vehicles and therefore such drivers needed to be more competent and added that with the semi-autonomous activities, they aimed to minimize this driver workload by assigning it to the vehicle. Mr. Kibaroğlu continued, “Under the conditions when driving comfort disappears from time to time due to the status of the field or weather conditions, the workload caused by these factors will be assigned to the vehicle and the driver’s responsibilities will be decreased with the various driving modes formed. In this way the driver will be able to control the other peripheral conditions and we believe this is quite crucial regarding situational awareness.” 

In the fourth and last panel of the Workshop, moderated by Ms.Özlem Sayın - Group Manager at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries in charge of Support Ship Projects, the Vision Sharing of the Marine Group was accomplished with the participation of Mr. Kubilay Çınar from Aselsan, Mr. Hakan Altınköprü from STM and Mr. Münir Cansın Özden from DATUM.

In his presentation on the unmanned systems employed by Aselsan’s Marine Vehicle programs, Aselsan MGO Unmanned Land and Marine Vehicles Program Manager Mr. Kubilay Çınar informed the audience on the unmanned surface vehicles designed and developed by Aselsan for maritime reconnaissance, surveillance and patrol missions. Mr. Çınar stated that the Unmanned Surface Vehicles they developed were being utilized by the Naval Forces Command in various tests, training and operations especially with mine tests or targeting purposes and underlined that their aim within this context was to build a target group.

The R&D Manager regarding Marine Projects of the STM Mr. Hakan Altınköprü informed participants on STM’s activities on autonomous marine vehicles and on the utilization of these systems in the world. Mr. Altınköprü shared that upon the developments in the world, unmanned marine vehicles were categorized under 4 different levels and continued, “The 1st level is composed of Unmanned Marine Vehicles of 0-7 meters in size,  used by universities for research purposes, the 2nd level contains armed Unmanned Marine Vehicles developed for reconnaissance which are capable of operating in 2-7-10 thousand meters, in the 3rd level the Unmanned Marine Vehicles operating underwater exist and the 4th level covers the Unmanned Marine Vehicles with longer ranges, over 10 thousand meters. The tasks of these unmanned marine vehicles in the seas are as follows; antisubmarine warfare, port security, maintaining maritime security, surface combat, patrol tasks, Special Forces operation and mine sweeping operations. In the upcoming period certain changes are expected to take place in parallel with our projections in this concept.”  Stating that an operation concept in which autonomous marine vehicles of various categories are communicating with each other and acting collectively will be built, Mr. Altınköprü added, “Besides, these systems can be used as rescue vehicles when maritime conditions are unfavorable. We can see the systems capable of operating underwater that enable infiltration to the enemy-held territories. We assess that these systems could be utilized as electronic warfare and electronic jamming.” Stating that as STM they were presently working on an unmanned marine vehicle for interception, Mr. Altınköprü said that they aimed toward maintaining the protection of both civilian and military ports.

Finally, the founder of the DATUM , Mr. Münir Cansın Özden, took the floor and conveyed information on the activities conducted by his company to participants.

Following the presentations, Group Manager at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries in charge of logistic ship projects, Ms.Özlem Sayın, shared with participants the Undersecretariat’s projections and expectations from the companies of the defense industry. Ms.Sayın said, “We assess that these systems will be extensively used in many areas of defense, mainly in reconnaissance and patrol missions, mine detection and disposal, surface warfare, antisubmarine warfare and coast security. We closely follow the activities of our universities and local companies in this area. At this point, with the unique design and manufacturing of these vehicles, we expect our companies to also develop the software that would fulfil the tasks such as navigation, obstacle avoidance, mine detection, task performance analysis, in our country.”

The Workshop on Unmanned and Smart Systems ended after the speeches and the “Roboik” – Unmanned and Autonomous Land Vehicles Design Competition’s Award Ceremony was held