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“We Have Continued to Strengthen Our Business Development with Turkish Companies!”

Defence Turkey presents an exclusive interview with Levent DÜNYA, Director of HENSOLDT GmbH Turkey Ankara Liaison Office and Harald Hansen, Director of Sales for Maritime Optronics at HENSOLDT on the Company’s history in Turkey, their ongoing activities in Turkey as well as the collaboration potential with Turkish defence and aerospace companies

Issue 97

Defence Turkey: Could you please briefly introduce HENSOLDT Company to our readers?

Levent DÜNYA: HENSOLDT is a global pioneer of technology and innovation in the area of defence and security electronics. The company is a market leader in civilian and military sensor solutions, developing new products to counter evolving threats based on disruptive concepts in such fields as big data, robotics and cyber security. With a workforce of some 4,300 employees, HENSOLDT generates revenue that exceeds 1 Billion EUR per year.

Defence Turkey: The company has performed activities in different areas in our country since the 1940s.  Could you please summarize HENSOLDT’s history in Turkey, and inform us about its current status as well as its viewpoint regarding Turkey? 

Levent DÜNYA: Turkey has been an important market for HENSOLDT for many years, particularly for our naval business. We have successfully worked together with both, Aselsan and Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş. (STM) in the past. 

In the last decade we took part in the modernization project for the AY Class submarines in the inventory of the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC), in which STM was the Prime Contractor. Replacing our own ASC 18 attack and BS 19 surveillance periscopes as well as SERO 400 periscopes in these vessels, our state-of-the-art solution SERO 250 brought the submarines up to the latest standards to meet current operational requirements. We signed a cooperation agreement with Aselsan regarding ESM-EW/GPS early-warning antennas for the SERO 250. 

For the upgrade of vision equipment for the PREVEZE Class submarines, we are working together with STM, who has the overall responsibility for the upgrade program. Here, we are set to deliver eight SERO 400 periscopes with thermal imagers as add-on units. 

We recently decided to carry out even more technology-oriented projects with STM, and STM brought us together with BAUMIND, a spin-off company that operates under Bahçeşehir University that is engaged in studies of underwater optical communications. Both BAUMIND and STM have been working on projects in this field. We, on the other hand, have developed optical surveillance systems for both underwater and surface applications. We decided to bring these two systems together, putting forward a solution that enables communication between submarines and divers. We have already completed the concept design and are now in the system-engineering phase.

Defence Turkey: As the HENSOLDT GmbH Turkey Ankara Liaison Office, what would you like to say about your activities performed in 2019 and your targets for 2020?

Levent DÜNYA: For the first time HENSOLDT Group participated in IDEF ‘19 in Istanbul with its own booth. The interest from Turkish and international/end users and customers were amazing and we could come up with a lot of key stake players of the Turkish Defence Industry. We have continued to strengthen our business development with Turkish companies, but we mostly engaged in relationship management and made bilateral visits. In 2020, depending on the political improvements on both sides, we would like to concentrate on our business development at each level of the SSB. Further, as our second concentration point, we will continue to support Turkish players for the projects in Turkey and in the region.    

Defence Turkey: HENSOLDT’s two COBRA Radars had been granted to Turkey in 2002 by the German Government. According to our sources one of the COBRA Radars was operational but the other one is utilized for the purpose of spare parts. What can you share about the operational status of COBRA Radars, feedback received from the user regarding the performance of the system and whether or not their modernization is planned?

Levent DÜNYA: Although the COBRA Radars are partly operational and the end users are really pleased with their performance, the COBRA Radars need to indeed be upgraded and also refurbished according to the latest state of the art solution that is available on the market. HENSOLDT is ready to modernize COBRA Radars and thus conducted several meetings at the end user level but also at the SSB. We are expecting the SSB’s call for further technical negotiations that will lead us to a contract.   

Defence Turkey: Aselsan will deliver the first indigenous Weapon Location Radar to the Turkish Land Forces in 2020 under a contract worth US$ 176.850 Million signed with the MoND in December 2016. On the other hand, within the scope of the Turkish Air Force (TurAF)’s Low Altitude Radar System Project, the contract of which was signed with the SSB during the IDEF ‘19 Fair at an amount of TRY 450 Million, 5 Low Altitude Radar Systems with S-Band AESA antenna technology will be procured. Is there any technological cooperation between Aselsan and HENSOLDT on such areas?

Levent DÜNYA:  Although HENSOLDT is open for cooperation with Aselsan. We have expressed our readiness to both the SSB and also to Aselsan authorities for a possible cooperation on the TF-X radar project development. This we think, could be a good initiation point.

Defence Turkey: HENSOLDT will supply 4 SERO 420 Attack Periscopes and 4 SERO 430 Search Periscopes under the contract valued at EUR 40 million signed with STM within the scope of the PREVEZE Class Submarine Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) Project, which was announced to the public on August 5, 2019.   Can you share some details about the delivery schedule of the periscopes? 

Harald HANSEN: HENSOLDT will supply 4 SERO 420 Attack Periscopes and 4 SERO 430 Search Periscopes under a contract signed with STM within the scope of the PREVEZE Class Submarine MLU Project, which was announced to the public on August 5, 2019. The contract is based on the delivery of a twin SERO 400 Periscope systems which will be integrated into the Turkish Combat Management System. The HENSOLDT Optronics relationship with STM has grown significantly since the previously executed contract for the AY Submarine refit contract and the professionalism and skilled expertise of STM will ensure a positive operational readiness outcome on the PREVEZE Class. 

Defence Turkey: HENSOLDT is also the supplier of SERO 420 Search Periscope and OMS 100 Optronics Masts to be used in Type 214TN REIS Class Submarines, the first of which was launched on December 22, 2019. Could you inform us on the latest status of the project and the delivery process? Is there any infrastructure in Turkey for the repair and maintenance of HENSOLDT periscopes existing in both PREVEZE and REIS Class Submarines? Any activity planned with the TNFC?

Harald HANSEN: The delivery of the SERO 400 and OMS 100 periscopes to the TKMS for these submarines is ongoing and we expect to participate in the initial Sea Acceptance Tests in the near future. Under this contract HENSOLDT Optronics will also deliver a dedicated Workshop in the Naval Maintenance Facility enabling the TNFC to accept system maintenance and repair responsibility in Turkey. This will greatly enhance the operational readiness of the systems and significantly reduce the maintenance cost.

The contract with STM for Turkish Submarines has and will continue to foster a relationship for the supply of HENSOLDT Optronics Masts for the international markets under subcontract to STM. This business is significant and seem strategic for both HENSOLDT and STM.

In 2019 HENSOLDT in cooperation with STM entered into discussions relating to the co-development of a submarine diver visual and underwater communication systems know as VIPERFISH. The systems enable the visual observation and communications with the diver in close proximity to the submarine.

HENSOLDT will supply equipment for the periscope workshop in Turkey, including special tooling. In this context, we are looking forward to the synergies that will arise regarding maintenance, in addition to operation and training. 

Defence Turkey: Could you please inform us on HENSOLDT’s prospective projects in Turkey as well as the collaboration potential with Turkish defence and aerospace companies?

Levent DÜNYA:  The only project that is ongoing is the MILDS Block I Project with Aselsan. For the ALTAY MBT Project, we have signed another contract with BMC for the driver sight. With STM, HENSOLDT has signed another contract for PREVEZE Class periscopes.  

HENSOLDT is aiming to extend its collaboration with Turkish defence players not only in Turkey but also in all countries where these companies are active.

Defence Turkey: Would you like to convey any further messages to our readers?

Levent DÜNYA: We can look back upon several years of successful cooperation with Turkish partners. We are looking forward to expanding our cooperation further