Past and Present Cooperation within the Defence Industry Between Turkey and the United Kingdom

by İbrahim SÜNNETÇİ

Issue 83

Hosting the world’s leading defence industry companies and currently owning a quite vast and deep defence industry infrastructure including land, naval, air and space industries, the United Kingdom (UK)’s defence budget, with a defence expenditure of £35.3 Billion ($52.5 Billion), broke into the world’s top five during the years 2016-2017 according to official figures. For the Fiscal Year ending in March 2019, UK Defence spending is budgeted to be £47.2 Billion

Having the sixth greatest economy in the world, the United Kingdom is the critical trade partner of Turkey, while Turkey also constantly increases its exports to this developed country. Being one of Turkey’s most critical export markets, the United Kingdom is at the same time the second country to which our country conducts the most exports.

Turkey has been achieving a surplus in its foreign trade activities to the United Kingdom since 2001. Turkey’s exports which were $5.91 Billion in 2005 almost doubled and reached the level of $10.6 Billion. A regression by %17.8 was experienced in 2017 and exports of $9.6 Billion were achieved with an increase of 22.8% in imports amounting to $6.6 Billion.  This resulted in a foreign trade surplus of $3 Billion in Turkey’s advantage.

According to the data provided by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), Turkish Defence and Aerospace industry accomplished exports of $64.069,24 Million to the United Kingdom in 2016, and $48.538,51 Million in 2017 (a 24% decrease). Turkey’s defence exports to this country is expected to increase in 2018. In this context, during the first half of 2018 the Turkish Defence and Aerospace industry exported $28.465 Million to the UK with an increase of 10.79% compared to $25.692 Million during the same period in 2017.

As of the end of 2017, the trade volume between Turkey and the United Kingdom was valued at $16 Billion and as President Erdoğan stated during his visit in May 2018, the existing trade volume has the potential to increase to $20 Billion within the next few years. In addition to this, the two countries are able to design and manufacture high technology products together by making joint investments. The manufacturing industry, energy sector and defence industry offer critical cooperation opportunities. Being aware of the fact that the United Kingdom has been intending to benefit from the alternative opportunities upon Brexit, Turkey wishes to develop trade and investment partnerships based on the win – win principle with the United Kingdom. Contrary to the extremely political approaches of many EU countries, the United Kingdom has been adopting a constructive approach in order to fix relations with Turkey on a rational basis.

As one of Turkey’s best partners in Europe, the United Kingdom is at the same time one of the strongest supporters of Turkey’s EU membership. Having a great, even an exemplary friendship, Turkey and the United Kingdom both have critical effects in certain markets across the world. Turkish and British defence industry companies are able to benefit from the export opportunities with strong partnerships that will be built between the industries of the two countries and the governmental support to be provided. Within this framework, companies of the two countries are able to cooperate on sales to the third countries in the same way KBS – Ultra Electronics did in Australia or establish cooperation toward the joint marketing of the indigenous products such as the MILAS Missile Launch System (MLS) for the LMM Missiles that was launched between Aselsan and Thales UK companies based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2010 and which deepened further through the cooperation agreement signed in February 2015. On the other hand, United Kingdom Defence Industry companies have been taking part in the ground tests of air and ground ammunition such as the NEB and SOM-J developed through national capabilities by the Turkish Defence and Aerospace Industry and they have been hosting these tests. Moreover, Turkey presently lacks a sufficient infrastructure in this area and is benefiting from the facilities and capabilities of BAE Systems and plans are in place to conduct the MMU/TF-X’s wind tunnel tests and the tests regarding supersonic speeds in particular.

The defence industry companies of the two countries which are taking part in international projects such as the A400M and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) have launched numerous successful cooperation projects thus far.  These projects include those such as the HF – SSB Radio Sets, BilSat Ground Observation Satellite and X-Band Satellite Communication System and while the BAE Systems company has been selected as the Foreign Cooperation Company under the twin-engine, 5th Generation National Fighter Aircraft (MMU/TF-X) Programme, negotiations are being held with the British Rolls – Royce company for the joint development and production of a turbofan engine to power TF-Xs. There is hope that Rolls-Royce will win the contract to develop and build the turbofan engines for the TF-X and a number of other companies will also benefit. The aspiration is that the TF-X Programme will lead to sustained cooperation and contracts between the Turkish and the UK defence and aerospace industries.

Cooperation Between Turkey and the United Kingdom in the Defence Industry

With the aim of the establishment of a fruitful and long-lasting cooperation between the Defence Industries of Turkey and United Kingdom, activities at various levels have been conducted by the authorities of the two countries since 2009 toward creating an environment conducive to meeting this goal. 

A series of activities were held under the coordination of the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) and the United Kingdom Trade and Investment, Defence and Security Organization/UKTI DSO in order to provide an environment for the defence industries of both countries to foster mutual acquaintances in their search for defence partnership opportunities.  In the exploration of potential cooperation opportunities between Turkey and United Kingdom, the United Kingdom has attained a position of being a partner preferred by the Turkish Industry, further deepening existing defence industry cooperation through the strong partnerships to be established and preparing the basis for extending this cooperation towards the third countries. To this end, as a follow – up of the IDEF ‘09 Fair held in Istanbul and the seminar on ‘Performing Defence and Security Business in Turkey’ held in London on 18 February 2009, the event titled ‘Turkey – United Kingdom Defence Industry Day’ took place in Ankara on 11 – 12 February 2010 with the participation of 22 British companies. Moreover, on 7 – 11 February 2011, Turkish Naval Inward Mission covering the cities of Bristol and London was executed again with the cooperation of SSM-UKTI DSO and 17 Turkish companies attended the event.

Upon the Turkey visit of the British Prime Minister of that period David Cameron in July 2010, the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (United Kingdom – Turkey Strategic Ally Agreement), then the signing of the ‘Military Cooperation Agreement’ during former President Abdullah Gül’s visit to United Kingdom in November 2011 provided a convenient atmosphere for further strengthening relations. The Strategic Partnership Agreement increased mutual trade and investments and strengthened cooperation in various areas including defence and security. Following the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the United Kingdom’s Defence Ministry increased its cooperation with Turkey through regular dialogues and technology exchange in defence and security sectors as well.

Turkey and the United Kingdom signed a Security Agreement on 25 February 2016 for the further development of mutual partnership in the defence industry. With the aforesaid Security Agreement signed in Ankara, a legal basis enabling the sharing of confidential information regarding the area of defence was formed between the two countries. The recent agreement between the defence industries of the two countries was signed for unmanned land vehicles on 14 May 2018. Katmerciler and British Company, Mira signed an agreement for international strategic cooperation in Unmanned Land Vehicles with the other shareholders Savronik and Delta Limited during the Turkish – British “Tatlıdil Forum” held in London, accompanied by the Undersecretary for Defence Industries (SSM) İsmail Demir. According to this agreement, the high technology Unmanned Land Platforms demanded by both countries will be developed through joint efforts and marketed to the entire world in addition to the United Kingdom and Turkey. Turkey is projected as a production base in this regard.

‘Turkey – United Kingdom Industrial Cooperation Days’ Workshop 

In order to develop the cooperation between the United Kingdom and Turkey’s aerospace industry companies as part of the National Fighter Aircraft (TF-X) Programme, the ‘Turkey – United Kingdom Industrial Cooperation Days’ Workshop was held at the Ankara Teknopark Conference and Seminar Centre on 19-20 June 2018. Deputy Undersecretary for Defence Industries Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi spoke as a guest of honour at the event in which the importance of industrial cooperation was underlined with opening remarks delivered by the Turkish Air Forces Command, British military and civilian delegation, TAI and TR Motor Güç Sistemleri Presidents. Approximately 100 British and Turkish companies gathered at the event which was continued with bilateral meetings conducted on June 21.

Speaking at the event hosted by Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TUSAŞ/TAI), Deputy Undersecretary for Defence Industries Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi emphasized on the importance of cooperation in defence industry projects. Pointing out that the cooperation platform would be quite useful for small and medium scaled businesses, Tüfekçi said, “A strong and self-sufficient domestic defence industry has been a priority for our government for many many years. Our domestic industry continues its constant development and Turkey is being regarded as a reliable partner. Turkey is now becoming a crucial player in the global defence industry”. Stressing that under the TF-X Programme cooperation negotiations on flight control systems, landing gears and engines were being held, Tüfekçi added that they aimed to develop a turbofan engine which will be used on the TF-X in Turkey. Stressing that the new local partnerships would be very useful for both countries Tüfekçi added, “Turkey’s industry bears many critical opportunities for the United Kingdom”.

TAI President & CEO Temel Kotil also pointed out the importance of service provider companies in the TF-X Project and stated that they would be manufacturing the aircraft with these companies. Kotil: “Build us an engine, a landing gear, a lighting system; this aircraft will be the best fighter jet in the world. We made this commitment by trusting you. Half of this commitment belongs to you and the remaining part belongs to us. When we install the world’s best engine, this aircraft will be the one. If your companies provide the best services, we as TAI will conduct the best design”.

The ‘Turkey – United Kingdom Industrial Cooperation Days’ event held by the Turkish and British companies as part of the TF-X Programme in line with the negotiations between Turkish and British governments provided an essential opportunity for the acquaintance of all domestic and British sub-contractor candidates with the potential of assignment in the Project, for seizing new cooperation opportunities and generation of win – win solutions, in order to elevate the rate of domestic participation to the maximum level. Within the scope of the event, opportunities towards the establishment of a maximum rate of domestic participation in the procurement of aircraft systems and sub systems and bilateral negotiations were held for the evaluation of the potential cooperation opportunities regarding the design, development, production, test, technology, maintenance activities etc. of these systems.

Success Stories from Past to Present 

Certain success stories concerning bilateral cooperation in the defence industry lie in the relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom. Defence industry relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom started with the two different contracts (at the same time representing the most critical defence system procured from the United Kingdom until that date) signed in 1983 and 1985, valued at £290 Million and covering the procurement of 72 Rapier Standard B1 low altitude air defence missile systems from the British Aerospace (BAe) company and 24 GEC Marconi’s BlindFire surveillance and fire control radars for the Turkish Air Force (TurAF). This was followed by the Koç Group company Otokar’s launch of producing tactical vehicles under the Land Rover license in 1987 and the technology transfer and domestic production of Scimatar H Radio sets in 20W, 100W and 400W configurations under the HF-SSB (High Frequency - Single Side Band) Radio Project. Under the contract, signed on 9 January 1990 and valued at $160 Million (96 Million Pounds), a joint venture company Marconi Komünikasyon A.Ş. (MKAŞ, presently the Selex ES Turkey) was established between the Marconi Communications (currently the Selex Communications) and the domestic companies for the local production of a total of 2.784 HF-SSB radio sets, with EW Protection, frequency hopping characteristics for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Gendarmerie General Command. Under the project to meet urgent requirements for 152 HF-SSB radio sets were directly procured from the United Kingdom.

In the beginning of 1990s, the aforesaid critical defence system procurement activities were followed by the procurement of TigerFish Mk-24 Mod II heavyweight torpedoes for the Preveze Class submarines, SeaSkua air to surface missiles for the AB-212 ASW/ASuW helicopters, AWS-9/Type-996 3-D surveillance and air/surface search radar and AWS-6 Dolphin search radars for the MEKO-I/II Class frigates and Yıldız Class FPBs, Cutlass-B1, Cutlass 1C, Scorpion-B, Porpoise and Sea Lion ESM and ECM systems for the MEKO-I/II Class frigates and Kılıç Class FPBs and Ay, Preveze and Gür Class submarines. In accordance with the Rapier B1X contract launched in 1996, the Rapier Standard B1 missile systems were upgraded to B1X level, and under the contract signed in October 1999, 840 Rapier Mk-IIB missiles were manufactured locally with the participation of Aselsan, Roketsan and KaleKalıp companies. In line with the X-Band Satellite Communication System Project signed on 13 December 1999, numerous man pack, vehicle and vessel terminals were produced and integrated to the platforms with the participation of Matra Marconi Space (EADS Astrium and now Airbus Defence and Space) and Aselsan (upon the new contracts signed in 2004 and 2008, the number of vessel terminals were increased and the number of fixed terminals were doubled), moreover, with the contract signed in the end of 1990s Type 2093 VDS sonars and NAUTIS 3M Combat Management Systems to be utilized in the Aydın Class Mine Hunting were procured. 

The defence relations between Turkey and United Kingdom moved on to a new stage with the new contracts based on the joint production and development model in the 2000s. Within this context, under the SPEWS II contract signed on 15 January 2003, BAE Systems, in cooperation with Aselsan (Mikes) developed AN/ALQ-178(V)5+ internally mounted advanced EW self-protection system for the TurAF’s F-16C Block 50 aircraft; a contract was signed on 13 August 2007 between Ultra Electronics and Havelsan towards the procurement and integration of the SeaSentor Torpedo Counter Measure System to be utilized in the first MILGEM corvette TCG ‘Heybeliada’ and it was followed by the contract signed between BAE Systems and Aselsan for the domestic production and development of the AN/APX-114 IFF systems on 5 October 2007. Previously, as part of the X-Band Satellite Communication System Project, Aselsan - EADS Astrium accomplished the production and integration of a total of 16 SatCom terminals for the Gabya and MEKO Class frigates of the Turkish Naval Forces Command. The two companies have also cooperated in the development and integration of the four (two per each vessel) Mini - SCOT satellite terminals for the TCG ‘Heybeliada’ and TCG ‘Büyükada’ corvettes under two separate contracts signed in 2009 and 2010. X-Band Mini - SCOT satellite terminals have been also ordered for the third and fourth vessels of MILGEM/ADA Class, namely ‘Burgazada’ (F-513) and ‘Kınalıada’ (F-514) under two  seperate contracts awarded in 2012 and 2013 respectively. As the Prime Contractor for the MILGEM/ADA Class satcom suite, Aselsan, provided services including assembly, integration and testing of the terminals, and the installation, acceptance, on-board testing and overall system delivery. The contract award for the procurement and integration of the SeaSentor Torpedo Counter Measure System to be installed on the second corvette of MILGEM/ADA Class TCG ‘Büyükada’ was announced in January 2011. 

Rolls - Royce Marine opened a Regional Marine Office in Tuzla in 2009 in line with its support and sales targets in the Turkish markets. Rolls-Royce Marine has been a supplier to the Turkish marine and naval market for many years, having built up an installed supply base of some 60 sets of Controllable Pitch Propellers (CPP) and the Fin Stabilisers on the Gabya Class (ex FFG-7), MEKO Class Frigates and 21 FPBs in the services of Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard. Rolls - Royce Marine also supplied Sonar Handling Equipment for 12 naval helicopters and 2 User Systems and Bow Thrusters for Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boats as part of the MILGEM Project over the Sonar System suppliers. In May 2012 Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, won an order to supply propulsion equipment (tunnel thrusters and retractable thrusters) for three new ships (one Submarine Rescue Mother Ship [MOSHIP, TCG ‘Alemdar’ delivered in January 2017] and two Rescue and Towing Ships (TCG ‘Işın’ [delivered in July 2017] and TCG ‘Akın’ [delivered in December 2017]) commissioned by the Turkish Navy.

The Sea Cyrpsis Torpedo Counter Measure System to be installed on Reis Class AIP submarines being constructed at Gölcük Naval Shipyard as part of the Type-214TN New Type Submarine Project was decided to be developed through the cooperation between Koç Bilgi ve Savunma (KBS) - Ultra Electronics companies. A contract was signed on 26 July 2011 for the integration of the SeaCrypsis Torpedo Counter Measure System to the Type 214TN Submarines through technology transfer between the KBS and Ultra Electronics companies, in a manner compatible with the ‘domestic participation’ vision of the SSM and with high domestic participation rate. As part of the strategic cooperation agreement they signed in 2009, the two companies also decided to cooperate on the development of the Torpedo Counter Measure Systems to be utilized in the Hobart Class Anti - Air Warfare destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The British Martin-Baker Company was selected to provide 110 ejection seats (for 55 aircrafts) for the TurAF’s T-38M Advanced Jet Trainers upon the Defence Industry Executive Committee decree of January 2010. A contract valued at around €15 million was signed with the company to this end. As part of this project, Roketsan decided to slide this cooperation [certain sub systems such as the rocket engine, parachute box and rail assembly are aimed to be produced in the country] to be built with Martin - Baker towards the F-35 JSF project as well. Martin-Baker also provides MK T-16N ejection seats for the HÜRKUŞ-A and HÜRKUŞ-B Training Jets. The contract on the HÜRKUŞ-B Aircrafts was signed in July 2014 during the Farnborough Air Show. Meanwhile, in March 2018 Martin-Baker was awarded a contract to provide the escape system for the Republic of Korea Air Force’s new fighter, KF-X. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) competitively selected Martin-Baker’s Mk18 ejection seat for its latest aircraft development programme. The Mk18 ejection seat design is also suitable for other products including Turkey’s future TF-X fighter.

Signed on 11 February 2010 within the scope of the ‘Turkey - United Kingdom Defence Industry Day’ between Aselsan and Thales UK Companies, the cooperation aims to integrate Thales Air Defence’s Lightweight Multi Role Missile (LMM) system to the MRTP 16 Class Fast Intervention Boats to enter United Arab Emirates service deepened further with the contract signed on 22 February 2015. In concern with the LMM missiles, Aselsan developed MILAS Missile Launch Systems with two different configurations; the lightweight configuration with the capacity of carrying four missiles developed for the MRTP 16 type boats in the inventory of the UAE and the heavyweight configuration of 650 kg weight with the capacity to carry eight missiles designed for platforms with higher weights such as the FPBs and corvettes. The engineering development activities of both MILAS MLS solutions with the ability to launch Thales UK production LMM and StarStreak Missiles were completed, the target tracking trials with the MLS was executed in Istanbul in 2014 and the initial firing tests was conducted at the United Kingdom also in 2014. The new cooperation agreement signed in February 2015 between the two companies envisaged the continuity of the shooting tests at sea and the execution of joint marketing activities for the potential customers besides BAE for the LMM MLS. The qualification phase live firing tests with the MILAS MLS were successfully completed in 2016.

 BMT Nigel Gee and Rolls-Royce are two of Ares Shipyard’s international strategic partners. They are worldwide well-recognized companies with very high credibility and realized, proven design solutions. Ares Shipyard’s design team has been working with these companies for many years. BMT Nigel Gee within the BMT Group, capable of conducting the concept and detail design studies of the carbon fiber/composite and aluminium hull military and commercial boats with the length ranging between 9m to 45m has been cooperating with the Ares Shipyard since 2013. BMT Nigel Gee took part in the design of 18m long twelve 58 FPB coast guard boats with composite hulls delivered to the Coast Guard Department of Bahrain by the Ares Shipyard and cooperated with Ares Shipyard in the design optimization of the 12m long boats with aluminium hulls delivered to the Turkish Coast Guard Command. BMT Nigel Gee has partnered with Ares to design and build 17 HERCULES Fast Patrol Boats (FPBs) from advanced composites in three configurations (five 24m ARES 75, 10 34.5m ARES 110 and two 48.5m ARES 150) to Qatari Coasts and Borders Security Department and started deliveries in October 2016. During Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference 2018 (DIMDEX 2018) held during 12-14 March in Qatar, Ares Shipyard received follow-on contracts to deliver three 48.5m ARES 150 Offshore Patrol Vessels and six 24m ARES 80 Special Operation Boats. BMT Nigel Gee, also designed a series of eight Qatar-bound luxury passenger ferries, which were constructed by Ares Shipyard in Antalya, Turkey.

Ares Shipyard, one of the leading candidates for the Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat (FPB) Programme of the Turkish Navy, had a teaming agreement with Rolls-Royce in order to use their indigenous, very well proven P2500 hull form that allows both high performance and speed capability above 55 knots with a steel hull but at the same time achieving very reliable seakeeping parameters at Sea State 6. Turkish Type Fast Patrol Boat Programme has been launched to acquire a total of 10 FPBs (4 firm and 6 optional) to replace four Doğan, four Rüzgar and two Yıldız Class FPBs. The aim of the programme is to develop highly agile indigenous platforms, able to create surprise effect thanks to their high speed and capability to conduct efficient surface combat through high strike power. Under the programme SSM issued a RFI document to local shipyards on July 25, 2013. 

Known as one of the most dynamic groups in our country in terms of Aerospace and Defence, Kale Group completed negotiations in June 2016 and shook hands with one of the world’s greatest aircraft engine manufacturers - the Rolls - Royce company for the development of the gas turbine based military and commercial aircraft engines which Turkey will be demanding in the upcoming years. The signing ceremony of this critical agreement was held at Ritz Carlton Hotel in Istanbul on 8 May 2017. The TAEC Air Engine Company which aims to develop and produce more than one engine for military and commercial/civilian aircraft programmes is planned to use all the capacity existing in Turkey regarding the design and production of all gas turbine components. The TAEC Uçak Motor Sanayi A.Ş. (Turkish Air Engine Company) established with the partnership between Kale Group (51%) and the Rolls - Royce (49%) submitted its proposal for a turbofan engine with the Low Visibility and Super Cruise characteristics and 27,000lb thrust capacity as part of the TF-X Programme to the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries in December 2017. 

In November 2017, a contract for the two new generation communications satellites was signed by Türksat with Airbus Defence and Space. The satellites, Türksat 5A and Türksat 5B, are based on the latest Electric Orbit Raising (EOR) version of Airbus’ highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform, which uses electric propulsion for in-orbit raising and station-keeping. Türksat 5A will operate in Ku-Band, have a launch mass of 3,500 kg and electrical power of 12 kW. It is planned for in-orbit delivery in 2020. Türksat 5B will operate in Ku- and Ka-Bands, its HTS (High Throughput Satellite) payload will provide more than 50 Gbps of capacity over a wide coverage including Turkey, the Middle East and large regions of Africa. The spacecraft will have a launch mass of 4,500 kg and electrical power of 15 kW. It is planned for in-orbit delivery in 2021. The Türksat 5A and 5B communications satellites will be built by Airbus in its UK and French facilities, with a significant Turkish contribution. Both satellites are planned for a service lifetime largely in excess of 15 years.

Gentex-Norbo Joint Venture Aims to Meet TAF’s Ballistic Helmet Systems Requirement

Serving the Turkish Defence and Aerospace Industry since 2000, Norbo Defence Industry is getting ready to produce state-of-the-art helmet systems in Turkey under the umbrella of the Gentex-Norbo Protection Technologies Inc., a joint venture company established between Gentex Corp and Norbo in April 2017. Gentex-Norbo Gentex-Norbo Protection Technologies has established a new manufacturing factory in 2017 with an area of over 3,600 square-meters at the Sincan Organised Industrial Zone in Ankara. The facility is scheduled to commence production in the course of 2018, and the annual helmet production capacity is intended to reach 40,000 units during the next phases. 

During IDEF ‘17 Fair Gentex signed two agreements with local companies Norbo and Fotoniks. Within the scope of the first agreement Gentex aims to increase the number of the helmets utilized and manufacture the helmets with superior technology in Turkey over the joint venture production facility established in Ankara, in addition to enable maintenance of the 20,000 helmets that are already in use in Turkey. With the production activities, which will take place in Gentex-Norbo Protection Technologies facilities, Gentex is also intending to conduct export activities to other countries in addition to Turkey.

As a military electro-optics company, Fotoniks has been working to build the helmet systems of the future. During IDEF ‘17 Fotoniks and Gentex signed the joint development project aiming to put forth the helmet system of the future in which the Ballistic Protection System will be provided by Gentex Company and its integration with the electro-optical sensors and network-based connection system architecture will be assumed by the company Fotoniks .

The Turkish Armed Forces and Security Forces are familiar with Gentex’s helmet products. Currently, over 20,000 Gentex helmets are already in use in Turkey. When the new facility becomes operational Gentex-Norbo Protection Technologies will produce the helmet systems in Turkey. As a first step, Gentex-Norbo Protection Technologies is expected to produce the FAST™ and SENTRY™ group helmets of Gentex’ Ops-Core brand that are very popular in Turkey and internationally. Meanwhile, for foreign markets, the company’s intention is to produce among others, PASGT (Personnel Armour System for Ground Troops) and other aramid-based helmets and related accessories.

Fotoniks & BAE System LiteHUD HUD System

During the IDEF ‘15 Fair, BAE Systems signed a contract with the Turkish Technology company Fotoniks for the development of aircraft screen systems and cooperation in the delivery within the region. Within the scope of this contract, Fotoniks would work on the integration of BAE Systems’ LiteHUD HUD to the HUD System to be included in the HÜRKUŞ-B New Generation Basic Trainer Aircraft. The two companies would develop the HUD System further for the local and regional markets at Fotonik’s facilities located in Ankara, Turkey. BAE Systems would also seize the opportunity to bring the LiteHUD HUD System to the complete system production level through working with Fotoniks and sell this system to the allied forces in the region as a domestic capability. Under the terms of the agreement, Fotoniks would develop BAE Systems’ LiteHUD’ HUD System at their facility in Ankara to meet Turkish requirements so that it can be fitted to the HÜRKUŞ-B New Generation Basic Training Aircraft of the TurAF and to deliver 16 new LiteHUD Systems to the TurAF with the assistance of BAE Systems. Deliveries have started, and the first batch of HÜRKUŞ-B trainers are expected to be handed over to TurAF in September/October 2018.

Yakupoğlu’s Boot Sales to British Armed Forces 

Manufacturing sailor shoes/boots to the Turkish Naval Forces and the British Royal Marines, Yakupoğlu Deri Sanayi (YDS) won the tender regarded as the world’s largest military boot procurement project at an amount of £80 Million, opened by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) after 1.5-year long evaluation and elimination process in the beginning of July 2012 and achieved to become one of the official boot suppliers of the British Army. In the project consisting of the delivery of nearly 300,000 pairs of boots composed of 6 different models namely; Desert Operation, Desert Patrol, Black Operation, Black Patrol, Cold Climate and Jungle, YDS competed with worldwide 47 companies and 3 companies including YDS were qualified as the boot suppliers of the British Army. In addition to the British Royal Land Forces, YDS delivers boots to the pilots of the Royal Air and Naval Forces and the Police and Postal Services of Britain as well as the industrial enterprises. 

BNA: Turkey’s New JV in the Aviation Industry

The successes achieved with FNSS, the collaboration culture and trust that is created, encouraged BAE Systems to invest in new generation aviation systems technologies, resulting in the establishment of BNA (BAE Systems-Nurol Hava Sistemleri A.Ş./BAE Systems-Nurol Air Systems Inc.) in November 2015. The two companies have therefore joined their forces once again to provide unique and indigenous capabilities to the Turkish aviation industry.

Combining Nurol Holding’s domestic presence and strong infrastructure with BAE Systems’ vast experience and technological know-how, BNA has made a solid entry into Turkish Defence & Aerospace Industry. Within the scope of its vision and areas of activity, BNA aims to become a first-tier supplier of aviation products and services that will be developed in Turkey. Commencing its activities in August 2016, the company continues its operations at the Cyberpark located on the Bilkent University campus.

BNA targets the niche areas not yet occupied by Turkish companies, in order to provide these products and services to domestic and international markets. BNA intends to capitalize on the strengths of both shareholders, utilizing Nurol Holding’s established local position and infrastructure alongside BAE Systems’ experience and technology. As a synthesis of experiences gained so far by Nurol Holding and BAE Systems, BNA aims to develop products that are strategically high value-add, innovative and competitive, and provide engineering support in aircraft design programmes. This process will begin with the identification of the right technologies to invest in and the establishment of a robust engineering and research infrastructure accordingly. Using the experience and capital strength of the stakeholders in its partnership structure, BNA’s targeted priority technologies are; Flight Control, Engine Control, Fuel and Hydraulic Systems, as well as Low Observability, Training, Simulation and Virtual Reality.

With its domestic and qualified engineering workforce, BNA is ready to assume responsibility in important work packages relating to national and indigenous air platform and system development projects conducted in Turkey. To ensure the highest level of domestic contribution in line with Turkey’s vision and policies for industrialization, BNA has commenced talks with leading companies in Turkey and around the world under the role of First-Tier Indigenous System Supplier and plans to move forward with these potential collaborations. During IDEF ‘17 Fair, BNA signed ‘Multi-Purpose Gas Turbine Engine Control System Development Project’ contract with Germany-based AES Aerospace Embedded Solutions on May 10, 2017 to develop and produce electronic engine control systems for the company. AES has opted for BNA in the current competitive environment for the development and production of the Engine Control System, which is at the top of the technology level and considered to be the engine’s brain.

BNA has set off with its entirely indigenous and qualified engineering workforce to undertake aircraft system design and manufacturing activities. Turkish helicopter projects, such as the T129, T625 and the ATAK-II as well as the fixed wing projects such as the TF-X, HÜRKUŞ and HÜRJET (T-X) are big projects and BNA aims to become a reliable system provider of TAI in these challenging projects.

As for the Turkish Fighter Development (TF-X) Programme, for which design activities are still on-going, BNA continues to conduct research and development activities together with Turkish companies and universities on new generation Active Digital Flight Control Systems, and on Low Observability technologies found in similar aircraft products around the world. BNA is targeting to be TAI’s qualified system supplier for the TF-X Programme.


Fulfilling similar demands through a common understanding, alignment of the requirements and maintaining interoperability in defence and security areas are of great importance for the two NATO allies Turkey and United Kingdom who have been facing similar common threats on a global basis. During this process, including the Turkish companies into the supply chain of the British companies through establishment of partnerships when required, particularly for sales to third countries, establishment of an effective information exchange between the decision makers (such as SSM and UKTI DSO) and maintaining transparency in bilateral relations are considered advantageous. While accomplishing all of the aforesaid, it should not be forgotten that working with the Turkish Industry would serve to the benefit of both countries and that it would provide significant opportunities for the defence industries of both countries, the United Kingdom and in Turkey, in addition to the other markets