Turkey’s booming defense industry, pegged at around $14 billion worth, is making it big globally with seven of its top companies making it to world’s top 100.
It is the first time in the country’s history since 1924 that its defense companies are striking hard in modern-day warfare arms development leaving a mark on global defense industry.
Leading from the front is Aselsan at number 52. TUSAS, BMC, Roketsan, STM, FNSS, Havelsan are other six Turkish defense companies in the list.
Four years ago, there were only two Turkish companies in the list.
With an eye on 2023 to end dependence on international supply chain of defense sector, Turkey’s defense industry has witnessed boom under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in past 19 years, meeting nearly 70% local demand — an increase of 40% since 2002.
In its latest huddle chaired by President Erdogan, Turkey’s Defense Industry Executive Committee said the indigenous military hardware developed, designed, and produced by Turkish companies proved their worth amid “cross-border and domestic counter-terror operations”, once again underlining the significance of locally made defense systems.
“[It has] made us extremely happy,” announced Ismail Demir, Turkey’s Defense Industries president on Twitter on Monday, referring to increased defense industry growth in past several years.
The Turkish defense industry leader Aselsan was founded in 1975 and has more than 7,000 employees. It allocates 7% of its annual income for self-financed research and development activities.
Its work spreads from imaging technologies to microwaves, radar, electro-optics and power electronics.
Given its track record of unimpeded successes, Aselsan has health sector of the country its next target.
The company wants to put to use its expertise and capabilities to boost Turkey’s health solutions.
It has plans to work on imaging devices, diagnostics and monitoring systems, and life support technology.
Currently, in one of the big deals, Turkey’s defense industry has signed Pakistan for which it is set to supply T129 ATAK attack helicopters next year for $1.5 billion.
Besides, Turkey early this year started manufacturing four MILGEM-class ships for the Pakistan Navy.
Turkey is also developing its Altay — main battle tank — to replace its older fleet of Leopard II and M60 Patton tanks besides selling to other countries.
Malaysia and Indonesia have also expressed interest in joint defense industry development with Turkey.
Notably, Turkey’s drone production by Istanbul-based defense firm Baykar Makina has already made impact across the globe for its successes in Turkey’s military operations in Syria, Libya and northern Iraq.
In its latest addition of drones to its kitty, Baykar last week tested Bayraktar Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) with 62-minutes long flight.
The operational success of the UAVs has won Baykar many international contracts.
The latest figures of Turkish defense industry for 2019 say its exports reached $2.14 billion, with the US being the top importer followed by Oman and Germany.