ROKETSAN :Turkish Defence Industry’s growing power

Roketsan, the sole company in rocket and missile propulsion system technologies in Turkey, has taken significant achievements since its first project ‘European Common Stinger Production Consortium”

Issue 11 - June 2008

Defence Turkey: First of all, can you please tell us about Roketsan’s general structure, its vision, and its development since its foundation?

On June 14 1988, Turkish Defence Industry Executive Committee founded Roketsan Inc. with the intention of supplying the country’s rocket and missile needs within domestic resources. ROKETSAN, which set up the necessary engineering, production and test infrastructure, operates in accordance with its mission.
ROKETSAN is one of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) establishments, together with ASELSAN Inc., HAVELSAN Inc., the Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI), aims to meet the needs of Turkish Armed Forces.
Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF), ASELSAN Inc., HAVELSAN Inc., Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corp. M.K.E.K., Kutlutas Construction And Drilling Corp., KALEKALIP Inc., VAKIFBANK are the shareholders of ROKETSAN.
Having undertaken its first project of producing the propulsion systems under the ‘European Common Stinger Production Consortium, ROKETSAN took the advantage of starting its operation with such an important project and increased the advantage by managing the project very wisely. Through the investments and human resources carried out within the context of the Stinger Project, ROKETSAN qualified in rocket and missile propulsion system technologies; and, today, the foundation is on such a standing in this area that it can compete with all other countries. We cannot ignore the noteworthy support from the Ministry of Defense in this context.
By the means of the experiences and knowledge gained during the Stinger, Kasirga, Yildirim, Rapier Mk2, and ESSM projects, our infrastructure of weapon systems engineering- especially multi barrel rocket launchers -, missile design/development, test, and production have been developed. It can be clearly stated that with our advanced infrastructure, we have carried our level to an assertive point in international programs and developing indigenous products. Our indigenous products, Mizrak, Sakarya, and Anatolian Projects which are produced in ROKETSAN, and Kasirga and Yildirim weapon systems, which are produced by the means of technological transfers developed by ROKETSAN, are some examples we are proud of in this area.
Because most of the projects ROKETSAN has worked on are product development projects since 2004, I can define the year 2004 as a milestone for us. Prior to this period, systems which are composed of the 107 mm. and 122 mm. rockets and multi barrel rocket launchers (MBRL) using these rockets are developed, and we evaluate this as an achievement drawn upon the attainments gained especially during the Stinger Project. These systems of indigenous designs which are totally designed, developed and approved by our own engineering capabilities, first, took their place in the inventories of the Turkish Armed Forces. Then, they managed to gain a niche in the international market.
ROKETSAN, which is the sole institution competent in rockets and missiles, has made possible important human resources, design, test, and production infrastructure by investing about 300 million dollars for physical and intellectual structures. Because of the National / NATO confidentiality classification, the projects on which ROKETSAN works come up limitedly at the media and public. With these kinds of interviews, only some issues can be brought to light.
With the visions to be the national leader in the field of rocket and missile systems extending from under the seas to space, and to be in the top fifty trend setters of the world market in terms of sales volume and advanced missile technologies with our indigenous products and advanced technologies, ROKETSAN shapes the future hopefully.

What are the capabilities, products and technological advantages of ROKETSAN, which has been improving rapidly since its foundation and reached success with the technologies it has developed in the Turkish Defense Industry? Can you please inform us about the programs and studies in this regard?
I have been giving and I will give information about the capabilities, products and technological advantages of ROKETSAN during my speech in due course.

Can you please inform us about the present situation of ESSM and Rapier Mk-2 projects within the Air Defense Systems context?

In 1999, ROKETSAN signed a domestic production contract in order to meet the needs of the Turkish Air Forces (TAF). In this context, as the subcontractor of MBDA UK Company, ROKETSAN started the production of JERNAS air defense system which is composed of the Rapier Mk2 missile and the launcher. The integration of a missile, and conducting the final tests within ROKETSAN brought in new expansions to our engineering infrastructure. Within the framework of this project, we brought a business package as a resource to ROKETSAN. JERNAS is about to take its place in the inventories of about ten countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, and Turkey. ROKETSAN is and is going to produce –as the sole supplier - the actuator assembly which is going to be mounted to the missiles to be produced for all the said countries and for the countries which are going to make an agreement with MBDA.
Immediately afterwards, the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) program came up within the needs of the Naval Forces Command (NFC). In order to modernize and develop the Sea Sparrow guided projectile in the inventory so that it can fill the present needs, ten countries joined forces for this program which is being conducted by the NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium. Our participation to the ESSM project started with the Engineering Development and Design Phase in 1995. At this phase, the design, production and test of the flight termination unit -to be used at ESSM’s test fire- were developed. The studies on flight termination warhead which can be replaced with existing warhead happened to be a project enabling us to test the engineering capabilities of ROKETSAN. Without causing any delays or malfunctions, we succeeded in working out an important engineering business package. Because the Flight Termination System is bespoke, ROKETSAN undertook the production of various mechanical and composite materials taking place in different departments at ESSM. The studies on the production phase of the project started in 1999 with the Low-Intensity Mass Production Phase. The Mass Production Phase, which is given start in 2004, is scheduled to continue until 2012.

Defence Turkey: In the context of your studies and technological attainments in air defence systems, what kind of a task can Roketsan undertake on projects about the Air Defence Missile needs which is on Turkey’s agenda? At which stage is your study about this?

With Aselsan, we offered our low and medium level air defence projects- started by the Undersecretariat of Defence Industry- intended for indigenous development. The procurement by indigenous development of Low Level Air Defence System has been approved and our suggestions are being evaluated. We are predicting that the studies of indigenous product development will start in a short time. With Aselsan, we are going to develop a modern and efficient system -which uses updated technology- to meet the needs of the Low Level Air Defense of our Armed Forces. Our studies with the Undersecretariat of Defense Industry have been being carried on intensively about the domestic procurement of the Medium Range Mobile Air Defense Missile System for the Land Forces Command and about the Zone Defence High Altitude Surface-to-Air Missile for the Air Forces Command. About the participation of the local defense industry in these projects, ROKETSAN Inc. can make momentous contributions with its situated infrastructure. The necessary negotiations have been made for this contribution.
About the air defence system projects which are on our country’s agenda, whatever the procurement model, our priority is the efficient use of the acute infrastructure.

At what level are the design studies of medium and long range guided antitank missile systems? What are the technical features and technological advantages of the missile systems being developed in this context?

About the Long Range Antitank System (UMTAS) and Medium Range Antitank System (OMTAS), we signed the contracts with SSM, and completed the design studies of UMTAS project in April 2008. The design studies in OMTAS are still in progress and we are intending to complete the system design in 2009. The development period agreements are going to be made when the design periods are completed, and after the completion of these periods, the agreements of production phase are going to be signed.

The UMTAS missile systems, which are going to have minimum 500 m., maximum 5-8 km. range, are supposed to be used for the helicopters to be supplied within the ATAK Program. That means when the ATAK helicopter takes its place in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces, UMTAS will be put in use too. We have a quite good progress in UMTAS. The system design period ended in April 2008. Currently, we are negotiating on the second period agreement, and in parallel, we are carrying on the studies about product development continuously. Within the framework of the new period agreement, we are going to complete the product development studies in the forthcoming three years and we will be able to put the products in the inventory. One of our main aims about UMTAS, which is going to be able to operate in the deadlock mode before or after ignition, is to operate efficiently against all armor.

OMTAS missile systems –supposed to have a range between minimum 60-250 m., maximum 4 km.- will be launched from shoulder or a tripod. OMTAS missile systems will be light and portable, equipped with infrared line seeker, hybrid control system and an advanced technology fire control system. Furthermore, it will be effective against blockhouse and concrete targets. OMTAS, which will also be able to be ignited from closed areas, will be effective against all armor and electronic jamming.
The product to come into at the end of the UMTAS Project will be the ammunition of the ATAK We are working with the aim of creating OMTAS which can compete with SPIKE LR and UMTAS which can compete with Hellfire or SPIKE ER. Both UMTAS and OMTAS will have superiorities like being insensitive ammunition against these systems, firing from closed areas, fire and forget / fire and update modes.

Defence Turkey: Within the scope of National Tank Project, ROKETSAN has been determined as the sub-contractor on the subject of armor based on the decision of Defense Industry Consulting Commission (SS?K). Can you inform us about the works done on this subject?

Modern Battle Tank Production Project is a new program having the target of meeting the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), by benefiting from the national capabilities at a maximum level, and is implementing under the coordination of SSM. The title of the program is “Project in Production of Tanks within National Capabilities” (MITÜP). Development of a “national” system that highly benefits from the capabilities of the local firms/organizations at the time of both the design/development and of production phases, with rights belonging to Turkish firms/organizations is the target. Undersecretary of SSM Murad BAYAR made an assessment on the subject that the technological knowledge accumulation gained by ROKETSAN in rocket and missile technologies, design, manufacturing and capabilities, could be used on the subject of meeting the armor needs of M?TUP project as well.
With the ROKETSAN’s experience, capabilities and accumulation of knowledge gained from many rocket/missile development and manufacturing programs realized to date in the direction of the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the need for a national armor design and test center happens to overlap on one another. During the performance of studies, ROKETSAN had the possibility of keeping in touch with the organizations engaged in design/manufacturing of warheads at home and abroad on the subject of studies on warhead and built design/test infrastructure. Many design and test infrastructure used in developing tank defense missile warheads targeting armors of tank are at the same time being used in development of armor. There are too many similar applications in other countries. This responsibility does not only cover the manufacturing responsibility of armor packages but form a job description in which we can at the same time use the design capabilities. ROKETSAN with its current infrastructure will be able to receive tasks in all design, production and testing processes in the armor work package until the final product.

Defence Turkey: What kind of role is undertaken by ROKETSAN within the scope of project oriented to development of helicopter electronic war support center? What is the current status on this subject?
Electronic war (EH) simulation support system is a new field of activity for ROKETSAN. We had signed the EH Support Center Project agreement at the time of IDEF 2005 Fair with ASELSAN. Within the scope of the Support Center of Counter Measure Dispensing System (CSC) Project, there are such targets as defending air platforms against the threats under their defense by user, to develop Counter Measure Dispensing System (CMDS) programs with the purpose of their optimization and the development of Computer Supported Simulation and Close Loop Hardware Test Systems (Hardware in the loop and HITL Simulator). Within the scope of the project, the PC simulation and HITL Simulator systems will be uniquely developed by ROKETSAN by benefiting from domestic means and resources at the maximum level. When we take a look from the current point reached, it can be stated that, the Conceptual Project Design and Preliminary Design phases are passed and system Architecture studies are completed. The engineering model building and algorithm development works are completed while the software development works are progressing.

Electronic warfare is not contemplated to be one of our main tasks but it is a field to which we can support. For accomplish such a project successfully, one must model the threat very well. Since rocket and missiles are our work, ROKETSAN is in a position to model the threat in the best way possible. The basic task of ROKETSAN in the project is to build a model of the threat and by using this model, to generate the most effective defense scenarios against the threat and to verify it by tests to be performed to optimize it.

Defence Turkey: In which subject, the strategic cooperation agreement signed with ASELSAN in March 2008, is creating joint working fields and what are the targets? Does his agreement have a strategic importance from the point of joining the forces on the port of the two firms in terms of exports and thus to reach at a more competitive position in global markets?

We have signed a memorandum of understanding with ASELSAN in March 2008, in the direction of performing joint works. The same agreement will also be concluded with other companies of the TSKGV. From now on, we will perform works of the subject of air defense missiles together with ASELSAN. ROKETSAN has serious accumulations in the sense of air defense infrastructure and we know that, air defense procedures are extremely important from the point of development of defense industry of this nation.

We think that with this memorandum, the capabilities and infrastructure of both ROKETSAN and ASELSAN will be used in these projects in the most effective manner. ROKETSAN has strong manufacturing and design capabilities and an extremely important infrastructure related to both the missiles and the launch technologies ranging from the mobile air defense systems to the long range regional air defense missile systems.
Regarding with the mobile air defense systems, under the leadership of ROKETSAN; with the contributions of ASELSAN and TÜB?TAK, a feasibility study was prepared and delivered to the Ministry of National Defense. Furthermore, we made a similar study with ASELSAN for the low/medium Elevation Air Defense Missile System. With these reports we have determined that there is an important potential in our country and such a unique system can be developed and manufactured in Turkey.

Defence Turkey: You have accomplished a spectacular success at international platform by exporting 122 mm multi-barrel rocket firing system to United Arab Emirates. Can you please provide us information about the topics realized and worked on by ROKETSAN in terms of exports and the activities and targets in international field?
ROKETSAN, along with international programs, is engaged in intense marketing activities to be able to design, manufacture, and supply the weapon systems to meet the needs of TSK and the armies of the allied friendly nations. The 122 mm, Sakarya Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (T-122) and its ammunition TR-122, as you are aware, entered into the inventory of the TSK in 1996. The 122 mm TR-122 ammunition is the rocket that can reach at the furthest target, within its family of ammunitions kept in the inventory and as proven in firing tests performed in Turkey, it can reach at a target of 46 km in distance, protects the title of being the “rocket having longest range in the world” among the ones contained in its class.
The first exports of T-122 Sakarya weapon system and TR-122 rocket family (TR-122/TRB-122/TRK-122) with their renowned capabilities were realized to United Arab Emirates (UAE). This project will be completed soon.

The business volume in 2007 is around 124 million YTL and of this, 21.5 million YTL is generated from exports. On the subject of exports we have really accomplished a very important advancement.
The framework of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) project with Raytheon and the framework of JERNAS project with MBDA UK are our important export drives. The sub-components of air-bags used in cars are manufactured in ROKETSAN and exported to USA. Together with exports realized to USA within the scope of Stinger Project, we now have an export portfolio that exceeds 300 million US$. We have thus recorded a significant increase in recent years.

Along with unique (original) manufacturing systems for 107 and 122 mm, with technology transfer like the one done for Kas?rga, there are products manufactured as ones that are included in our product portfolio. We have commenced the marketing activities of the Kas?rga weapon system with the fairs that we participated last year. Cirit is also among the products that are included among the current marking activities.

We are not marketing the defense systems to UAE only. Middle East is at the top of list of target markets. We have rather important initiatives in such countries as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Along with these, there are the North African countries and among them Algeria has the priority for us. We have contacts in progress, in accordance with procurement plans of Far East and South African countries and with armed forces of Finland and Australia. Turkic Republics especially Kazakhstan is an important market among the targets of our company. In the central Europe, Romania, and in the Northern Europe, Finland are the countries which we have entered into joint works. In Far East, we are engaged in activities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Tunisia and Australia are among our target countries as well. Nowadays, we are intereted in South America. We have participated in an exhibition in Chile for

We have already transformed our design and manufacturing infrastructure into our products, and although remaining cost effective, we offer to all the countries around the world that we are permitted to work with by our Ministry of National Defence, a high quality along with a high performance. We also provide user training to our customers, whenever requested along with our products. We have already proven all these in the United Arab Emirates, a country famous for their difficulty in being satisfied as a customer. After all these, we can say that our target is to be placed among the top 50 companies in terms of sales volume and advanced technologies in this field.

Defence Turkey: It is indicated that there are ongoing negotiations with the foreign commissions on the subject of 2.75 inch Cirit Laser guided rocket and 122 mm rocket as products of ROKETSAN, within the framework of fairs participated in Malaysia and Jordan. Furthermore, you have provided important messages to the parties that, the experiences gained on the subject of munitions Disposal Facility which entered into the service of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) could be made a turnkey delivery project and it could be established in other countries as well. What are your assessments about competitive power of ROKETSAN on these subjects, compared with other giant defense companies in the Middle East and Far East market?
With the purpose of destroying the ammunition that completed their useful life span but preserved in the inventory of the TSK, the contract of establishment of a Munitions Disposal Facility in Kirikkale was signed between NAMSA and ROKETSAN at the end of December 2005 and the plant was started to operate in 2007. Disassembly and demolition of 52 different types of classical ammunition in different sizes as well as missiles, rockets and landmines that are out of service are realized in Munitions Disposal Facility with advanced technology of maximum automation and recycling; without harming the environment and by giving priority to human and material safety. This project establishment of a plant equipped with remote control robots is important from the point of ROKETSAN to exhibit the engineering strength as well. We are planning to market this plant to friend and allied countries and we observe that there is a very serious demand. I think, in a short time, we will also open up to the world as a company capable of establishing turn key projects based plants.
ROKETSAN have been working on laser guided rocket development project to meet the needs of the Headquarters of Ground Forces (KKK) since 2004. In this project, titled C?R?T, which is one of the most important war games of the Turkish history, integration of the rockets to the helicopters of KKK and the development of wise launcher will be performed. C?R?T, as a concept, is based on the solution of destroying the soft targets with high accuracy and cost efficient manner and will remove the gap between the ammunitions of attack helicopters and armor piercing weapon systems.
CIRIT will reach at about 8 km targets and contains many improvements such as semi active laser seeker, insensitive rocket motor reduced smoke propellant, 3-mode warhead having armor piercing capability, stagnant guidance based on MEMS, electro mechanical control actuation system and wise pod. From this point, CIRIT is developed by using the firsts at all times and this brought in a distinct importance to the project and made it possible to gain a great strength among the competing products. Every country using helicopters, will need this ammunition. It is known that, classical 2.75” rockets were being used from helicopters and this ammunition could be used from aircrafts as well. However, those weapon systems had excessive dispersion in free flying and unpredictable where it went. Whereas in current battles, it is targeted to hit only the military targets, not to hit the civilians even if it was happened by mistake. Therefore, more sensitive ammuniti?nions should be used. Despite such systems like Hellfire or SPIKE are sensitive, they are very expensive. Whereas C?R?T has sensitivity at their level, it possesses a rather high strike power and so cost-effective that can not be even compared. Therefore, we estimate that CIRIT will have a very wide marketing potential.
While we densely continue the flight tests during 2008 and complete the validation of the product and production line, we plan to commence the serial production after 2009.
There was not any missile design and manufacturing activity realized in Turkey before, in a size that it could enter into the inventory. Therefore, CIRIT project is assessed as a turn point in our national capability.
In the fairs in Malaysia and Jordan, there were a big interest shown to both the 2.75” laser guided C?R?T rocket and the Munitions Disposal Facility and first steps were taken in cooperation with certain countries.
Defence Turkey: What are your new strategies and objectives for your works with developed countries such as Finland and Australia? Which capabilities, technological or production superiorities increase your competitive position in such developed markets?
We are carrying on our contacts with the Armed Forces of Finland and Australia in accordance with their procurement plans. Following a demand from Finland, we have already completed a successful firing test in this country. Our 122 mm MBRL ammunition is the main subject of our talks with the Finnish authorities. In addition to 122 mm ammunition, we are also negotiating about the 2.75” Semi-Active Laser Guided Missile systems with Australia. We will define our future steps following the decisions of the authorities in these countries.
Defence Turkey: What are the responsibilities of ROKETSAN as a sub-contractor of the American ARC Automotive Inc. for the production of airbags? What is the current status of this project?
We have signed a contract in 2005, with the ARC Automotive Inc. which is located in the United States of America (USA), with an approximate value of 11 million Dollars for a period of 3.5 years, involving a serial production and supply of annually 14.5 million booster bags using Arcadane 459 (airbag triggering fuel), in 16 different configurations, for use in airbags and the products manufactured are being shipped to the USA. The qualification of these products has been completed in December ’06 and the serial production has started in January ’07.
When the airbag project will be diversified in the directions of our objectives, ROKETSAN will become one of the most important sub-contractors of ARC Automotive Inc., which is ranked 4th in the world’s airbag market.
Defence Turkey: What are your current Research and Development activities and studies? Can you inform us about your infrastructure, targets and plans about R&D?
ROKETSAN aims to be a worldwide system company in the rocket and missile industry. The design and development capabilities have been continuously expanded with this view, along with the ongoing production projects, within a planned strategy. The first outcomes of this process were the indigenous design Artillery Rocket Systems that have been provided to the Turkish Armed Forces inventory.
Within the framework of recent years’ progresses, we have completed the laboratory phase of guidance, control and seeker development studies and have started to implement these studies in the tactical field. ROKETSAN will continue to diversify its product range by using the momentum and experience earned within these projects for meeting the current and future requirements. The contracts signed with the Ministry of National Defense in the recent years require a dominance of engineering and development of indigenous products. CIRIT, UMTAS, OMTAS, CMDS, HTPB (Hydroxyl Terminated Poly Butadiene) are some of the projects that require the development of genuine products and we have realized numerous technology development works during these projects. ROKETSAN has defined its vision in parallel to our countries objectives as “Launching Satellites into the Space” since the day it has been founded and will continue to contribute in the defense services with this vision.