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Turkish-German Defence Industry Cooperation: A Unique Alliance over and above EU

Turkish and German nations are tied with a strong bond originated from the common chapters of their history. German of

Issue 26

If we look at the defense side of this trade, we see a similar but slightly different picture, due to some specifics in Turkish defense industry. First of all, overall economic growth rate of Turkey has not been stable and varies between -10 to +9 for the last 12 years. On the other hand, during the same time frame, growth rate in defense industry has been on the fast track rising at every year. Secondly, key players in defense industry are better organized and smoothly managed by Turkish Undersecretariat of Defense Industries (SSM). Thirdly, depending on its delicate geo-political position and unlike its? EU partners, Turkey still perceives a great deal of threat and prefers to keep a high profile in the defense front.

In order to do just that, Turkish defense industry has been radically reorganized to realize a self-sufficient sector capable of developing its own goods rather than importing. Locomotives of this endeavor happen to be the national defense companies such as HAVELSAN. As a member of Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, and being the second largest in defense electronics, HAVELSAN plays a key role in Turkish defense industry. HAVELSAN operates in software intensive system field producing air and naval combat systems in the scope of command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR). In addition to C4ISR, HAVELSAN develops tailor made solutions mainly in the field of information and communications technology.

Beside the defense industry, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector may also be an important technical aspect of the Turkish-German relations. In the ICT sector, Turkey is a member of Systems, Applications and Products (SAP) family and has utilized SAP Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) system in military and governmental institutions. A substantial number of highly experienced and skilled SAP consultants locates in Turkey, with domain knowledge in business processes and technology, who are able to apply the system in any military headquarters and governmental institutions all around the world. We have been bidding for tenders in the third countries with SAP as a solution partner. Our expectation is to continue partnership with SAP during system and solution development phases as well.
On the other hand , we also see an opportunity window to extend our technology cooperation to cover command and control systems and C4ISR for the requirements of German military forces. We have already deployed Turkish Integrated Command and Control Information System (TICCS) for the Turkish Air Force using state of the art technology.
Cooperation opportunities with German defense companies are not limited to ICT and C4ISR. Turkish Naval Forces has been the largest conventional submarine customer for German built U-209?s since 1971 when the first submarine was laid in Kiel for the Turkish Navy. On July 2 2009, an agreement was reached between SSM and HDW (Howaldswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH) for construction of 6 air independent new type submarines in Turkey. As one of the main subcontractor both for HDW and ATLAS, HAVELSAN has undertaken Combat Management System (CMS) and Navigation Data Management Center(NDMC) for this project. This will be a tremendous and unprecedented business opportunity for HAVELSAN and several German companies to work together in a sizable design and development program involving high technology, and more importantly, transfer of technology .

As a designated excellence center by SSM for Simulation and Training Systems, HAVELSAN is regarded as one of the 10 biggest companies in the world in the area of simulation and training technologies.. We are the main simulator supplier of the training systems for air, land based and naval platforms. We have business relations and cooperation agreements with global companies such as BOEING, Lockheed Martin, RAYTHEON, and THALES. Besides the Turkish Armed Forces, we have also delivered simulators to Air Force of Republic of Korea and Pakistan Land Forces. Possible business opportunities do also exist in the area of simulation with German industry, for example with RHEINMETAL on a new submarine diving simulator project for the Turkish navy.

There is no doubt that Germany, as the fourth largest economy in the world, is the driving force behind the EU. Even though not a member yet, Turkey emerges as a new player both in the regional and international arena and maintains strong political and economic ties with Germany. A developing defense sector is an important part of this equation and we should extend the existing cooperation to a broader perspective with German ICT and R&D giants.
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