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The Past and Present Defence Industry Cooperation Between Turkey and Italy

by İbrahim SÜNNETÇİ

In parallel with the developments in the local defence industry and the creation of new domestic capabilities as well as the high number of countries located in the Middle East, Eurasia, North Africa and Near and Far East, which constitute a potential market for Turkey’s target defence exports, the Turkish Defence & Aerospace Industry has turned to an attractive partner for arms manufacturers who wish to establish strategic partnerships with Turkish companies for both local and international markets. 

European countries such as Italy, the UK and Germany who believe that working with Turkish Defence & Aerospace Industry can bring mutual benefit and could create new opportunities in both their countries and other markets have been increasing their efforts to enhance cooperation between the industries of both countries and to explore opportunities to establish partnerships in the defence sector for sales to third countries, which are potential markets for Turkish defence exports. 

Even though the long historical relationship between Turkey and Italy dates back to the times of the Ottoman Empire, which had close relationships with such Italian city states as Genoa and Venice (1381), diplomatic relations between Turkey and Italy were established only as of 1856. Over the centuries, Turkey and Italy built important historical ties. Culturally close to each other, the exchanges are currently growing thanks to the precious activity of the respective cultural centers. Indeed, Turkey and Italy are more than simple friends. Their relation is based on an instinctive sympathy, further consolidated even at time of crisis.

Italy and Turkey have also remained close trade partners for decades. Today, Italy is considered as one of the most important partners of Turkey. As of 2017 Italy was Turkey’s 4th biggest trade partner. Current fields of cooperation include automotive (constitutes 40% of the foreign trade with Italy), energy, the defence industry, tourism, infrastructure and chemicals; but there is still great potential to further develop economic and commercial relations.

Italy is a target country for Turkey, and it is one of its most important trade and investment partners with a bilateral trade volume of around US$ 19,8 Billion in 2017. Turkey had US$ 11,3 Billion in imports from Italy, making it the fifth country in imports in 2017. Turkey also had around US$ 8,47 Billion in exports (represents 5% of Turkey’s total exports) to Italy, ranking the country as the sixth largest destination for Turkish exports. Main items of Turkey’s exports to Italy consist of passenger motor vehicles, motor vehicles for good transport, fresh or dried fruits; whilst main items of Turkey’s imports from Italy are parts and accessories for motor vehicles, petroleum oils, yachts and other vessels. As of 2017, Italy is the 7th largest foreign investor in Turkey. In the period from 2002-2015, the total amount of direct investments from Italy to Turkey was US$ 2,880 Billion. In 2015 Italy invested US$179 Million in Turkey, however in 2017 this figure amounted to US$ 124 Million. Between 2002-2015, the total amount of direct investments from Turkey to Italy was US$ 329 Million. In the period from 2002-2017, the total amount of direct investments from Italy to Turkey was almost US$ 3,1 Billion. This figure was US$ 387 Million from Turkey to Italy in the same period. According to the data obtained from the Ministry of Trade 1,418 Italian companies are operating in Turkey as of December 2017 (this figure was 1,369 in 2016).

DEİK/Turkey-Italy Business Council was established with the agreement signed with Confindustria in Rome on June 14, 1990, and since then continues to carry out studies to improve Turkish-Italian economic and commercial relations. Business Council activities are conducted within the framework of joint meetings, investment seminars, and regional meetings. The aim is to improve trade relations, joint investments, technological cooperation and partnerships in third countries.

Speaking on the panel with the title “Turkey-Italy, Overview of 2019 Economy in the Light Chain of Chain of Trust” held by the Italian chambers of commerce on October 18, 2018, Luigi MATTIOLO, Ambassador of Italy to Ankara “In the Mediterranean region, there is no country more important than Turkey for Italy. As two allied countries just, last year we created a mutual trade volume of US$ 20 Billion and continue to increase it.”

Turkey - Italy Export Data and Defence & Aerospace Product Exports

According to the Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association (SSI) data (based on Turkish Exporters’ Assembly - TIM), in the period from January 1 - October 31, 2018, Turkey’s exports to Italy based on all sectors was US$ 7,9 Billion.  This figure represents an increase of 16,9% in comparison with the same period of 2017, amounting to US$ 6,7 Billion. According to SSI data as of October 31, 2018, Italy ranked 3rd in Turkey’s exports with a 5,8% market share, Germany ranked 2nd with a 9.8% share and the UK ranked 1st, Germany ranked second with a 9,8% share. However, according to SSI data, in the period from January 1 - October 31, 2018, Turkey’s defence and aerospace product exports to Italy amounted to US$ 14 Million witnessing a 51,6% decrease compared to the same period of 2017. According to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) data, Turkey’s exports in November 2018 amounted to US$ 15,031 Billion (10,72% increase compared to November 2017, which was US$ 13,575 Billion), and in the period from January 1 - November 30, 2018, and the total exports of Turkey reached about US$ 150,040 Billion. In the period from January 1 - November 30, 2018, Turkey’s exports to Italy amounted to US$ 8,733 Billion (15,77% increase compared to the same period of the previous year).  Italy, as it stands, is the 3rd largest export market for Turkey following Germany with around US$ 14,645 Billion and the UK with US$ 10,163 Billion. Moreover, according to TIM data, in the period from January 1 - November 30, 2018, Turkey’s total defence and aerospace exports to EU countries amounted to US$ 519,832 Million (US$ 447,051 Million in the same period of 2017). In this period, defence and aerospace exports to Italy was realized as US$ 14,855 Million with a 62,74% decrease compared to the same period of 2017 (US$ 39,871 Million).

Conclusively, considering the available data, although a significant increase (15,77%) was recorded in business volume and export figures between Turkey and Italy in 2018, as of November 2018, there was a 62,74% decrease in exports of defence and aerospace products compared to the same period of the previous year.

Cooperation Between Turkey and the Italy in the Defence Industry: Success Stories from Past to Present 

The Defence and Aerospace Industry is one of the fields of commercial/industrial cooperation between Turkey and Italy. The most Defence and Aerospace Industry is one of the fields of commercial/industrial cooperation between Turkey and Italy. The most important defence projects first come to mind that Turkey is carrying out with Italy are SMART Project (Connects over 20 control towers to over 600 ATC workstations), Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) Project (3 Vessel Traffic Service Centers [VTSC, Regional Command Center] for İzmit, İzmir and Mersin Regional VTS system and connected 24 [4 İzmit, 12 İzmir and 8 Mersin] Traffic Surveillance Station also 1 Vessel Traffic Management Center [VTMC, National Command Center] in Ankara), AW139 Helicopter Fuselage Manufacturing (Covers the manufacture and delivery of a total of 405 helicopter fuselages at TUSAS facilities), TUSAS-Alenia B787 Programs (B787 Elevator and Cargo Barrier production), Coast Guard Search and Rescue Ship (CG-SAR) Project (Under the project contract signed in January 2007, four corvette type ships with a displacement of 1,700 tons based on Sirio Class Offshore Patrol Vessels, constructed by Italian Fincantieri, was designed and constructed at RMK Marine Shipyard and entered the service of Turkish Coast Guard Command), T129 ATAK Helicopter (In total 86 T129A/B1/B2 will be procured/assembled at TUSAS, 59 units for Turkish Land Forces Command [+32 optional], 18 units for Turkish Gendarmerie General Command and 9 units for Turkish National Police), GökTürk-I Satellite (Transferred to TurAF on orbit in late 2017), MELTEM-III ATR-72/600 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (2 Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft [TMUA] and 6 Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft [TMPA]), and Turkish Long Range Air and Missile Defence System (T-LORAMIDS) Project signed in early 2018. 

Regarded as a flagship, Leonardo company has an important role and share in the defence industry cooperation between Turkey and Italy. Leonardo has been a trusted business partner for Turkey for more than 51 years, participating in major military and civilian/commercial and military projects such as the T129 ATAK, the MELTEM-III, RAT-31 Air Surveillance Radars, Naval Sensors, Naval Guns, Defence Systems and more recently the GökTürk-I EO Earth Observation Satellite Program and Liaison & Utility Aircraft Project.

For Leonardo, Turkey is first and foremost, an industrial partner rather than just being a potential market. Over the years, close collaboration between the Group companies and their Turkish counterparts has led to a solid industrial partnership that extends to the defence and security sectors as well as civil programs. The activities range from helicopters for military and commercial applications, to training and maritime patrol aircraft, radar (both air traffic control and air defence), communications systems, naval systems, urban trains and trams.

In November 2010 Leonardo opened its new representative office in Ankara to strengthen the Group’s presence in Turkey and to develop its leadership in defence and security. Moreover, Leonardo also operates in Turkey through the office of Selex ES Elektronik Turkey – the Turkish subsidiary of Selex ES, based in Ankara and with a branch office in Istanbul – mainly operating in the military, avionics and professional communications sectors since 1989 (the company’s history in Turkey dates back to 1974). 

Leonardo is now seriously assessing all opportunities for collaboration with Turkish industry in large-scale programs to modernize the TAF and to realize large infrastructures in the country for homeland security, transport, air traffic control and maritime border surveillance, as well as to supply satellite services. Leonardo is particularly interested in business opportunities for products such as integrated training systems, swing-role aircraft, swing-role helicopters and a number of major naval projects. In this context, Leonardo is ready to share its 60-year experience and expertise in supplying avionics for the most advanced combat aircraft to customers such as the Italian Air Force and the UK’s Royal Air Force, and to actively support Turkish industry to deliver the TF-X new generation fighter.

In the field of defence and aerospace the longstanding collaboration between Italy and Turkey dates back to the late 1960s, when AgustaWestland (now Leonardo Helicopters) was awarded the first contracts to supply 154 helicopters of various models, such as the AB-204, AB-205 and AB-206 to meet Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) requirement. Since 1967 Leonardo has expanded its footprint and firmly established its presence in our country with the 338 (154 AB-204, AB-205 and AB-206, 20 AB-206 BIII Jet Ranger, 15 AB-212, 15 AB-412EP, 40 SF-260D, 86 T129 and 8 ATR72/600) fixed and rotary wing aircraft that Turkey has ordered. 

AgustaWestland, which entered the Turkish helicopter market with 4 AB-206 and 20 AB-204B (UH-1B) helicopters supplied in 1967 in parallel with the requirements of the TAF, is also the supplier of AB-205 (UH-1H) helicopters, the first general-purpose helicopter in the real sense that entered the service of the Turkish Armed Forces which accomplished important missions in the Cyprus Peace Operation. The AB-205 helicopters (70 units total) supplied from Italy in 1970 in parallel with the requirements of the Turkish Land Forces Command, were the first general-purpose helicopters of the Turkish Armed Forces in the real sense. Helicopters manufactured by Agusta (now Leonardo Helicopters) under Bell license in Italy, were used with great success without any casualties during the Cyprus Peace Operation by Bolu Commando Brigade, Nevsehir Gendarme Commando Battalion and 230th Infantry Regiment for air assault and airlift operations conducted in Kırnı and Gönyeli regions. Using the helicopters for the first time on the battlefield, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK/TAF) has made some changes to its military doctrine after the Cyprus Peace Operation and started to consider helicopters, which mainly used in medevac, VIP and reconnaissance missions until then, as combat vehicles. In time, the relationship between AgustaWestland and Turkey expanded further to cover the helicopter requirements of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie and Coast Guard.

The first naval helicopter of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, AB-204AS (TCB-31) was delivered in October 1972 and the other two were delivered in March and April 1973, respectively. The first part of the AB-212 helicopters, which have superior features in terms of range, speed, target detection/identification and tracking capabilities (3 units) become operational in 1977, and the second part (9 ASW and 3 EW) equipped with Ferranti SeaSpray MkIII (now Leonardo) maritime surveillance radar and Sea Skua air-to-surface guided missiles with a range of 15km come into service in 1987-1988.

Meanwhile, after the Cyprus Peace Operation Turkey, exposed to the arms embargo imposed by the US Government, purchased a total of 40 F-104S aircraft from Italy to meet the Turkish Air Force requirements for interceptor/bomber aircraft and the money of the aircraft was paid by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as a gesture to Turkey. The F-104S was used only by the Italian Air Force and the Turkish Air Force. The first part of the contract for F104S fighters, manufactured by the Italian Fiat Company, including a total of 18 aircraft with a value of US$ 3,815 Million was signed on 16 October 1974, and the second party contract, including 22 aircraft with a value of US$ 4,298 Million was signed on 6 May 1975.

Within the scope of the tender opened by the Ministry of National Defence to meet the needs of the Turkish Land Forces Command for 20 Training Helicopters (initially there was a need for 52), Agusta was selected to deliver 20 AB-206 BIII Jet Ranger training helicopters in 1993 and a contract with a budget of US$ 19,36 Million (Including spare parts costs US$ 1,6 Million) was signed on 25 February 1994. Deliveries started in January 1996. The most important factor behind the selection of the AB-206 BIII Jet Ranger was; the helicopter received the highest score during technical evaluation and the unit cost (US$884,000 Thousand) was lower than the other shortlisted candidates.

In 1990 a contract was signed between Agusta and SSB for the Primary Trainer Aircraft needs of the Turkish Air Force (TurAF) and a total 40 SF-260D aircraft were ordered. 6 of the aircraft delivered directly while the remaining 34 aircraft was manufactured under license at TUSAS facilities between 1991 and 1993 and delivered to TurAF. SF-260D Primary Trainer Aircraft manufactured under the license of Agusta become the first European aerospace products, manufactured under license in Turkey

As part of the Coast Guard Command’s 5 (+4 optional) SAR helicopter requirements, within the scope of the Martı Project, initiated under the coordination of the SSB, an international tender was opened in 1996, and with its AB-412SP solution, Agusta was selected as the winner. Under the 1st Phase of the Martı Project, which was signed on March 1998 (5 units) and September 1999 (4 optional units turned into final order and upgraded to AB-412EP) with a total value of approximately US$ 90 Million (excluding the cost of GFE equipment value of US$ 5 Million), a total of 9 AB-412EP helicopters were delivered and entered to the service of the Turkish Coast Guard Command. Within the framework of the Turkish Coast Guard’s need for additional 5 helicopters, Phase II contract of the Martı Project with a value of US$ 63 Million (including the US$ 32 Million offset liabilities) was signed with AgustaWestland in December 2004 and the contract entered into force in June 2005. Meanwhile, an additional AB-412EP was ordered with the new US$ 12 Million agreement signed in May 2006, replacing the AB-412EP helicopter with TCSG-503 tail number, which crashed into the sea in Antalya during a mission flight in July 2005. The deliveries under the 2nd Phase of the Martı Project were started on March 2008. Leonardo Helicopters, in accordance with the offset obligations arising from the Martı Project, signed a contract with TUSAS, in March 2004, to produce the fuselage of its new twin-engine AW139 helicopters in TUSAS facilities as a second source. The contract, which envisaged the manufacturing of a total of 250 helicopter fuselages (in short-nose configuration) by 2012, entered into force in April 2004 and the first two fuselages of AW139 were sent to Leonardo Helicopters in December 2006. Since 2012, the manufacturing of AW139 helicopter fuselages in Search/Rescue (SAR) configuration has been started. In 2014, a total of 43 different fuselages in two different configurations (SAR and Offshore) were shipped to Leonardo Helicopters. Within the scope of the program, the 250th and last helicopter fuselage produced at TUSAS facilities were delivered to the company with the participation of Leonardo Helicopters representatives in 2014, and as a result of the conducted meetings, it was agreed to extend the AW139 Fuselage Manufacturing Program Contract for at least three years. As of the end of 2017, TUSAS delivered a total of 325 AW139 helicopter fuselages to Leonardo Helicopters. Within the framework of the renewed contract with Leonardo Company, it is planned to deliver an additional 80 helicopter fuselages by the end of 2021. 

TUSAS-Alenia B787 Programs, which were initiated with the contract signed with Alenia Aermacchi (Leonardo) in 2007, provides the manufacturing of all versions of the Boeing 787 Elevator and Cargo Barrier components (8, 9 and 10 series aircraft) at TUSAS facilities as the single source. With the agreement between Boeing and Alenia, the contract for both work packages was transferred to Boeing in 2014. Currently, serial production activities for 8 and 9 series aircraft configurations are in still in progress and the deliveries of 10 series planes are expected to reach 12 sets per month in the first place.

In the meantime, different types of 120mm tank ammunition were supplied from the Italian Simmel DIFESA Company through NAMSA, to be used in the M60T and Leopard 2A4 MBT with 120mm smoothbore main gun in the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) service. Under the project valued at € 24 Million, which was initiated by the Ministry of National Defence (MoND) in early 2007, It was decided to acquire approximately 10,400 HEAT-MP-T Ammunition (M325/CL 3105) from the Italian Simmel DIFESA Company (purchased by Nexter Sytems at 2014). Simmel DIFESA proposed a multi-purpose M325 (CL 3105) HEAT-MP-T solution developed by the IMI Company based in Israel. (At that time, it was claimed that Simmel DIFESA had no full-scale production infrastructure for 120mm ammunition, and only installed its fuse on the ammunition from IMI Company).

Under the contract signed on January 16, 2007 and came into force on 30 June 2008, within the scope of the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Ship (CG-SAR) Program valued at € 352.5 Million, Search and Rescue Ships, based on Fincantieri manufactured Sirio class offshore patrol vessels with a displacement of 1,700 tons and capability to operate on heavy seas and support helicopter operations, were built at RMK Marine Shipyard and entered the service of Turkish Coast Guard Command. The ships were given the names of TCSG Dost (701), TCSG Güven (702), TCSG Umut (703) and TCSG Yaşam (704). The ships that come into service in 2013 and 2014 are still successfully operating within the Coast Guard Command.

The most significant program that Leonardo accomplished in defence field in Turkey is the T129A/B Mk-I ATAK Multi-Role Light Combat Helicopter Program. The contact of the program was signed in September 2007 and entered into force in June 2008. With this Project, the cooperation between TUSAS and AgustaWestland (Leonardo Helicopters), which started with SF-260D joint production project and reinforced with AW139 Fuselage manufacturing, has reached its most comprehensive level until now. Valued at US$ 3,3 billion, the ATAK Program of the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) covers the procurement of 9 T129A EDHs (Early Delivery Helicopters) + 50 T129Bs (29 in Phase-I and 21 in Phase-II configurations +32 optional) tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopters. A prototype helicopter (P2) will be retained by the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) for use as a test-bed.  Turkish Aerospace (TUSAS) is the Prime Contractor of the T129 ATAK Program and has been contracted to deliver 27 further T129Bs to the Turkish Ministry of Interior (18 T129Bs to the Turkish Gendarmerie General Command and 9 T129Bs to the Turkish Police). TUSAS manufactures T129A/B helicopters under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland (rebranded as Leonardo Helicopters in 2016). TUSAS manufactures two T129s per month and as of  31 December 2018, the company has completed the delivery of 38 T129A/Bs (9A and 29Bs) to the Turkish Land Forces and 4 T129Bs to the Gendarmerie General Command. Deliveries of the first three T129Bs to the Gendarmerie General Command took place on April 19, 2018 and the fourth one (J-1512 YAVUZ) on 7 November 2018. 

Under a US$ 1,5 Billion valued Government-to-Government contract awarded on 16 May 2018 TUSAS will also deliver 30 T129B Mk-I ATAK Multi-Role Light Combat Helicopter to Pakistan Army Pakistan Army’s T129 ATAK Helicopters will have a similar configuration with that of the Turkish Army’s T129Bs and the first batch of 10 helicopters would be delivered in T129B Phase-I configuration and the remaining 20 helicopters in T129B Phase-II configuration. At the final phase of the program the first batch 10 helicopters will be upgraded to Phase-II configuration. Pakistan will be pay the credit granted by Turkey, from its own budget and in installments in a schedule extending to 10 years. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is expected to be the second export customer for the T129. The Philippines Department of National Defence (DND) is considering the acquisition of the T129 from Turkey. A procurement team set up by the PAF in support of its Combat Utility Helicopter (CUH) Program, covering 8 helicopters and includes more than 10 options, has identified the T129 platform as fulfilling its capability demands, although the procurement project has not yet been finalized. In order to finalize ongoing negotiations with a contract President of Defence Industries (SSB) Prof. Ismail DEMIR visited Philippines on 17 December 2018 and on 18 December a MoU for Defence Industrial Cooperation between Turkey and Philippines was signed between SSB President Prof.DEMİR and Philipinne Secretary of National Defence Delfin N. LORENZANA at Villamor Air Base in Manila. This MoU will pave the way for cooperation between the two countries in the field of defence industry and the sale of the Turkish Defence and Aerospace Industry products (including T129) to Philippines. The acquisition is expected to be facilitated through a Government-to-Government deal between the Philippines and Turkey, possibly involving credit provided by Turk Eximbank, Turkey’s official export credit agency.

Turkey’s importance for Leonardo has been clearly demonstrated with the creation of Selex Komünikasyon AŞ (now Selex ES Elektronik Turkey), a Turkish subsidiary of Selex ES. Initially, Selex ES Elektronik Turkey was created to produce secure HF radios in the country, in line with the requirements of the TAF, and today the company is an important supplier in this direction. The Selex ES Elektronik Turkey plant is located in Gölbaşı, near Ankara on an area of 36,000 m², and employs over 60 highly specialised staff. From 1990 to 1997 Selex ES Elektronik Turkey manufactured and delivered thousands of HF radios to TAF, and also extended its range of products and system solutions for land, naval and air applications. The supply of crucial systems for the E-7T Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Program of TAF, as part of the Peace-Eagle Project, is just one example of the strategy pursued by the company to date, which has led to numerous major successes. In 2005 Selex ES Elektronik Turkey was selected for the provision of internal and external lighting systems for the A400M aircraft. Other projects developed and carried out by the company, with the support of the Turkish MoND, the SSB and Selex ES, include maintenance work for VHF/UHF communications systems, the supply of IFF (Identification Friend/Foe) interrogators for the NATO AWACS air fleet, the “turnkey” supply of the entire secure communication system for several of the Turkish Navy’s sites and platforms, and the production of tactical radios for allied countries in the region. In 2008, the company opened its sales branch in Istanbul, offering solutions based on TETRA, GSM-R, ATC and Wide Area Network technologies, to develop emergency communications for customers. For Air Traffic Control (ATC), Turkey’s national radar surveillance network and air traffic planning and control infrastructure (seven control centers and around 20 radio stations) were supplied in full by Selex ES as part of an active long-term partnership dating back to 1974, when the company, which was still known as Selenia at the time, provided the first air traffic control systems for the airports at Istanbul and Ankara. In November 2006, Selex ES was awarded a contract by the Turkey’s General Directorate of State Airports (DHMI) to fully upgrade and enhance all of the country’s air traffic control centers. The contract, which confirms the success of Selex ES in the SMART (Systematic Modernization of ATM Resources in Turkey) tender, provides for the supply of a national system, based in Ankara, to manage the entire Turkish air space, plus six incoming traffic control centers installed at the airports in İstanbul, İzmir, Antalya, Dalaman and Bodrum, and at Ercan Airport in Northern Cyprus. The systems supplied by Selex ES will support disaster recovery by enabling air traffic control to be transferred from the national centre in Ankara to the centers in Istanbul and İzmir, which will thereby effectively become backup centers. Brought into fully operational service in March 2016 the SMART system connects more than 20 remote control towers encompassing over 600 ATC-related workstations. 

In February 2010 Selex ES was awarded around € 24,750 Million contract by the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs for the realization of a Vessel Traffic Management System (GTYS/VTMS) for the management of maritime traffic in the coastal areas of İzmir, İzmit and Mersin. Leonardo’s VTMS ensures the safety of Turkey’s coastline and seaports, providing an integrated and comprehensive view of maritime traffic in its territorial waters. Within the scope of VTMS Project, 3 Vessel Traffic Service Centers [VTSC, Regional Command Center] and connected 24 [4 İzmit, 12 İzmir and 8 Mersin] Traffic Surveillance Station [TSS] also 1 Vessel Traffic Management Center [VTMC, National Command Center] in Ankara is established. Unmanned Traffic Surveillance Stations [TGI]; are equipped with radars, radios, VHF Direction Finders [DF] and meteorological sensors.

Selex ES has also delivered one RAT-31SL/T and seven RAT-31D/L state-of-the-art long-range air surveillance radar systems (now under Leonardo Land & Naval Defence Electronics Division’s product range) during 1998-2007 to the Turkish Air Force (TurAF). The RAT-31D/L is an advanced L-Band solid state phased array, 3D surveillance radar, effective to a range of over 500km. In 2014 Selex ES secured a contract for the upgrade/modernization of 4 of the TurAF RAT-31D/L radars. As part of the modernization effort the acquisition and tracking capabilities regarding the Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) was planned to be added to these 4 RAT-31D/L radars alongside their capabilities of air vehicle detecting and tracking. 

Selex Galileo’s presence on Turkish soil dates back to the 1970s when the company commenced its partnership with the Turkish Navy on the OGR7 Program, for which it still provides logistics and support. Selex Galileo has supplied Airborne Surveillance Radars for the helicopters of the Turkish Navy and Coast Guard, and continues to provide support for this equipment. With its new generation of AESA radar technology, Selex Galileo is in collaborative discussions with Turkish industry for the implementation of this technology into the TAF for its future requirements. In 2006, Selex Galileo won another important contract to supply the Turkish Navy’s ships with more than 20 SPN-730 LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) navigation radar systems, today produced by Selex ES. Also in the naval sector, Selex Galileo delivered a pair of Silent Acquisition Surveillance System (SASS) based on Infrared Search and Track (IRST) technology for application on board Turkish Navy’s TCG Bayraktar and TCG Sancaktar Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs). The SPN-730 I-Band LPI radar and SASS are now under Leonardo Land & Naval Defence Electronics Division’s product range.

Oto Melara, now part of Leonardo’s Defence Systems Division, stands out as a highly active defence export company. The world re-known 76/62mm naval guns Compact and Super Rapid (SR) have been adopted by more than 50 navies around the world including the Turkish Navy. Oto Melara’s guns including 76/62mm Compact, 40mm Twin Fast Forty 40L70 Single Fast Forty and 30mm Single 30/SAFS gun systems are being used on a variety of naval platforms ranging from FPBs, MCMVs and Frigates in the service of Turkish Navy. Under the New Type Patrol Boat Program of the Turkish Navy Oto Melara received a € 53 Million contract in September 2007 to provide 16 twin 40/70mm naval gun systems and completed deliveries. Oto Melara will deliver 76/62 Super Rapid gun systems for the I Class Frigates of the Turkish Navy. Working alongside the Turkish Navy, Leonardo has transferred the capability to maintain, assemble and disassemble all parts of guns currently in-service. The company is ready to build on this knowledge transfer for gun mounts for new programs. Oto Melara is also the supplier of TM 197B Heliborne Turreted Gun Systems being used on T129A/B Mk-I ATAK Multi-Role Light Combat Helicopters.

Under the US$ 218,7 Million (€ 180 Million, the cost of the AMASCOS-300 Mission System procured under the MELTEM-II Project is not included in this figure, merely the aircraft procurement, structural modification, test and certification costs are covered) valued MELTEM-III Project, two ATR-72/600 utility aircraft in TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft) configuration, inducted into Turkish Navy service in July and August 2013) and six ATR-72/600 Maritime Patrol (M/P) Aircraft with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) capabilities will be procured. Alenia Aermacchi/Leonardo is the Prime Contractor of the Project. According to the official website of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC), the delivery of six ATR-72/600 Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (TMPA) will take place during 2019 - 2020. The contract of the Meltem-III Project was signed between Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A (Leonardo) and Turkish Aerospace (TUSAS) on July 2012. The agreement is an amendment to a previous deal signed on July 20, 2005 and became effective in April 2006 between Alenia and the Turkish Government for the delivery of 10 ATR-72/500 ASW aircraft to the Turkish Navy. 

In December 2008 Telespazio (67%-owned by Leonardo), supported by Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%/Leonardo 33%), won a tender as Prime Contractor for the GOKTURK-I Very High-Resolution Surveillance and Observation Satellite System. consists of an Earth observation system, with a satellite equipped with a high-resolution optical sensor and a centre for the integration and testing of satellites. The GOKTURK-I Program is managed by Telespazio as Prime Contractor and System Integrator, by Thales Alenia Space (TAS) as responsible of the construction of the satellite, and by local industrial partners including TAI, Aselsan, TüBiTAK BilGeM, Roketsan and SDT. Responsible towards the SSB for the Program, Telespazio has realized the ground segment, including the capabilities for the mission control, the in-orbit satellite management and the acquisition and data processing systems. TAS built the observation satellite equipped with a high-resolution (50cm) optical sensor and the center for satellite integration and testing in Ankara, inaugurated in 2015. The GOKTURK-I EO Satellite was launched into Low Earth Orbit on December 5, 2016 aboard the Vega SLV from the European Spaceport in Kourou and delivered to the TurAF during the second half of 2017. The GOKTURK-I satellite has a dry weight of approximately 1,000kg (launch weight is 1,060kg) and a service life of seven years. Its observation payload includes a high-resolution optical instrument with state-of-the art performance and an onboard digital imaging storage system to handle data compression, archiving and downloading. The satellite is positioned in a Sun-synchronous orbit, at an altitude of approximately 700km.

As part of the EUROSAM Consortium, MBDA (EADS 37.5%/BAE Systems 37.5%/Leonardo 25%) has submitted a proposal to the Turkish Ministry of National Defence (MoND) to supply the Turkish Long-Range Air and Missile-Defence System (T-LORAMIDS), based on the SAMP/T product. Turkey was requiring industrial participation and offset in relation to the T-LORAMIDS Project, and MBDA believed in sharing technology and expertise. The company therefore identified several Turkish companies with considerable experience in the field of defence and security, and in November 2010 signed framework agreements that will come into effect if the T-LORAMIDS Program is awarded to EUROSAM. However, Turkey cancelled the T-LORAMDS Project in November 2015. Following the cancellation of the T-LORAMIDS Project in order to meet TurAF’s long range air and missile defence requirement via locally designed and manufactured, indigenous solution the Enhanced Long-Range Area Air and Missile Defence System (GUMS) Project was launched by the SSB in 2016. Aselsan has been tasked as Prime Contractor to cooperate with Roketsan and TüBiTAK SAGE, main local subcontractors. EUROSAM has been selected as the technical support provider for the GUMS Project. On January 5, 2018 Aselsan and Roketsan signed an agreement with EUROSAM to jointly conduct a 18-month definition study for ‘preparing the development and production contract’ for the GUMS Project. According to President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR, the advanced air and missile defence system to be defined under the definition study would be based on SAMP/T of EUROSAM. This contract award follows a ‘Heads of Agreement’ and a Letter-of-Intent (LOI) signed by Turkish, French and Italian MoDs in July and November 2017, respectively. And on January 15, Aselsan, Roketsan and TÜBİTAK SAGE Business Partnership have signed an agreement with the SSB for the GUMS Project. Aselsan announced on January 16, 2018 that its share under the agreement was TL869 Million and € 279,257 Million and that the deliveries will be completed in 2021.

Leonardo is also one of the bidders for the Liaison and General-Purpose Aircraft (GPA) Project. Under the Project SSB launched a tender in 2016 to procure a total of 9 Liaison and General-Purpose Aircraft (GMU/GPA), 6 for the Turkish Land Forces and 3 for the Turkish Police. The Request for Proposal (RFP) document prepared as part of the Project was published by the SSB on June 21, 2016. Leonardo is offering C-27J Spartan and ADS is offering C295 to meet both Turkish Army and Turkish Police requirements. 

In Turkey, Leonardo is also marketing its AW101 helicopter. In service from the Arctic to the Antarctic, the AW101 delivers high performance in hot and cold environments, day and night and in all weather conditions. This three-engine medium/heavy military multirole helicopter can perform a wide range of land and maritime missions. In the naval domain, these include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, helicopter early warning, utility, amphibious support, surveillance and patrol, long range search and rescue. The 16-tonne AW101 is the most advanced helicopter in its class, capable of autonomous operations and featuring state-of-the-art flight and mission avionics and equipment. Its large cabin is able to host up to 30 fully-equipped troops, it can be equipped with advanced self-protection systems for outstanding survivability, and its twin-engine cruise speed capability provides extended range and endurance for operations. Leonardo has been a long-established supplier and partner in the Turkish helicopter sector delivering a number of aircraft for both government and civil operations in recent decades.

Leonardo’s Airborne & Space Systems Division, on the other hand, is offering its Miysis DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasure) System to Turkey. The Miysis DIRCM provides dependable, persistent protection from IR-guided missiles, including advanced, all-aspect Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) missiles. Miysis DIRCM is ideal for any platform, thanks to the power for defending large fixed-wing aircraft and the small size and weight required for helicopters and UAVs. It is available as a fully integrated or podded solution, using open architecture designed to allow incorporation of a variety of Missile Approach Warners (MAWs) and to operate autonomously or as part of a Defensive Aids Suite. Fully designed and manufactured in the UK, Miysis DIRCM is readily exportable around the world