Undersecretariat for Defense Industries Celebrates its 31st Anniversary

The Undersecretary for Defense Industries Prof. İsmail Demir and Deputy Undersecretaries gathered with members of the press at a breakfast meeting on the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. Giving a briefing on the overall structure of the Undersecretariat, the procurement systems, ongoing programs and the strategies for the future to the press members, Prof. Demir replied the questions of the press members regarding the agenda after his presentation.

Prof. Demir stated that as the Undersecretariat they have been executing the procurement and development programs of the Turkish Armed Forces, National Police and the Gendarmerie General Command with 5 deputy undersecretariats and 20 directorates, and added that within the context of the regulations in the structure of the Ministry of National Defense in the next period, the R&D department in lieu with the Ministry of National Defense will be included to the auspices of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries.

Extending information to press members on the operational structure of the procurement system, Prof. Demir made important statements on the technologies they need to focus on as Turkey in the upcoming period.

Prof. Demir stated that significant programs such as the Indigenous Fighter Jet Aircraft, “Hürkuş” New Generation Basic Trainer Aircraft, Indigenous Lightweight Helicopters and Regional Aircraft were their priority areas and continued, “When speaking of these programs and these platforms we also need to develop our high technology products. Strategies such as the establishment of helicopter, satellite, aircraft and sub-system companies with the participation and/or partnership of the various governmental institutions or private sector corporations under the auspices of TAI may appear at the agenda in the days ahead.”

Prof. Demir shared the critical topics Turkey would need to include in its agenda in the forthcoming days with the members of the press as well. Prof. Demir said, “We can consider the autonomous systems that may come to the agenda in the near future. The automatization of the naval, land and air systems is one of the most discussed subjects. The products that will be utilized autonomously in the battlefields from the micro systems to the grand platforms need to operate uninterruptedly. At this point, we believe that we still did not miss the train as a country. We assess that we can make certain progress not only in respect to the air platforms but also in the naval and land systems. Without doubt, the deployment, management and protection of the autonomous systems are quite critical as well. On the other hand, the aspects such as command control, protection and weapon systems of the naval platforms cover the 75% - 80% of the whole platform. The business share of the shipyards does not exceed 20% - 25%. Without any hesitation, we should be focusing on the developments in this area.”

Prof. Demir noted that a significant amount of progress needs to be made in the satellite and aerospace systems and continued, “Various observation satellites in orbit at different altitudes and the satellite systems, their coordinated utilization, production, test, launching and operation aspects are on the table in a very comprehensive fashion and we assess that we need to make quite important progress regarding these points. Meanwhile, we have to adopt a strong position regarding the issues such as cyber security, biotechnology, radars, optical and weapon systems, intelligence systems, laser systems and electronic warfare as well.”

Touching upon the importance of the coordination between the sectors and the creation of a healthy competitive environment, Prof. Demir said, “The industry we wish to create has to support technological efficiency and sustainability as well. We have to include various types of incentives. Then, after the emergence of the products, we should build the mechanisms that will track and support the maturing process and the strategies enabling the technological independence. We also need to further strengthen the establishments such as the organized industrial zones and techno-polices.”

SSM Establishes a Test Inc. Co. for Test and Calibration

Prof. Demir underlined that the Undersecretariat is organizing the establishment of a company concerning the defense industry technologies and continued, “We aim this with the establishment of this company; We aim to support the companies or entrepreneurs with original ideas regarding newly emerging technologies, becoming partners with them to a certain extent and supporting their projects and helping them survive. Our activities for the establishment of a test incorporated company to conduct test and calibration operations are ongoing as well. We adopted a policy of encouraging various company structures and sometimes becoming actively involved in these to this end. On the other hand, we aim to create a structure, a healthy eco-system enabling the inclusion of the companies around the various regions of our country that are capable of assuming major projects in the sector. Instead of a structure merely focusing on regions such as Ankara and Istanbul, we aim to add the capability we spotted anywhere in our country to our inventory and thus include these structures to this eco-system. We are visiting various cities in certain periods. One of the main components of our Industrialization Department is the formation of the chart of the capabilities existing in Turkey. During the visits we conduct within this context, the companies with certain manufacturing capabilities express their intention of becoming involved in the defense industry and we receive questions on what they need to do in order to take part in our industry. Our colleagues are continuously working on improving our promotion and  getting to know them better within this framework.”

Following the presentation, the Undersecretary of Defense Prof. İsmail Demir replied the questions of press members.

Prof. Demir stated that they received the proposals on serial production from the company conducting the development program in line with the contract within the scope of the Altay MBT program, and added that they are at the final evaluation stage of this project and will be reaching a decision soon. Extending information on the LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock) vessel which is still under construction, Prof. Demir shared that the aircrafts capable of vertical take-off and landing can be deployed from this vessel also publicly known as the aircraft carrier underlining that their priority is a platform that the helicopters land on and take-off from.

Prof. Demir mentioned that one of Turkey’s priorities is manufacturing an indigenous engine and continued, “Both the diesel and jet engines as well as turbo jet engines exist in our agenda. The tender for the diesel engine has been conducted and the development project has been assigned. Our company is performing its activities. But, we did not reach an agreement with the foreign technical support provider proposed by the company. So, our negotiations with a second company continue, yet due to the emergence of certain complications we started negotiating with a third company. We have to monitor the performance of the company and provide support in certain areas if required but I can say that the activities are continuing.” 

Replying to the question on whether or not Turkey will have an attempt towards the direct procurement of a Long Range Air and Missile Defense System, Prof. İsmail Demir said, “We have identified our road map. There are certain processes for the demand and the product to arrive in the field within the scope of the determined strategy. How will the preferences be shaped during this time? This point will be evaluated. Here, we claim that we are ready to cooperate. We started to develop our own system through national resources. However, if the completion of this process - though it does not seem too short at the moment - extends to 5 to 7 years’ time, then we may execute certain activities for a faster delivery with the association we cooperate with during the development process. Our domestic participation rate may decrease but we may speak of the meeting of an immediate requirement with the indigenous development project at an optimum point.” 

Projects Worth $ 9 billion were Approved in 2016 

Prof. İsmail Demir introduced the deputy undersecretaries to the press members after the question & answer session and extended information on the size of the programs conducted by the Undersecretariat. Prof. İsmail Demir said, “Over 300 projects are being executed within the auspices of our Undersecretariat. Upon the decision adopted at the Defense Industry Executive Committee meeting in March 2016, projects with the amount of over $5 billion were approved. At our latest executive committee meeting, a project worth  $ 4 billion has been approved. There are projects with the amount of more than $ 9 billion existing merely within our portfolio for the year 2016. The number of staff of our Undersecretariat is around 500, we employed approximately 150 consultants, thus we have a structure composed of 650 people. We are executing almost 400 projects with our colleagues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our colleagues, all the deputy undersecretaries and all our former undersecretaries assigned prior to my assignment. I would like to thank my team as well as you for your participation.” 

The program ended after the briefing.