Turkey's defense exports hit $1.1 bln in 2011

Turkey's defense exports hit $1.1 bln in 2011

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys defense exports hit $1.1 bln in 2011

This photo shows a Turkish-made YAK remote-controlled shooting platform used in armored vehicles for security personnel to defend against terrorism.

Turkey’s defense exports reached $1.1 billion last year, up from $850 million the previous year, a senior procurement official said late Thursday.

“This is a healthy expansion. The exports figure used to be less than $700 million a year ... But kept our promise to exceed $1 billion last year,” the official told the Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkey exports mostly to Islamic countries. It has mainly sold armored vehicles of various sorts, small boats, rockets and other ammunition, and military electronics such as radios, to more than 10 Islamic countries in recent years. It also sells aviation equipment as part of offset deals.

“The performance figures for 2011 will be published by the Defense Industry Producers Association (SaSaD) soon,” the procurement official said.

Expansion to continue

The expansion in exports is likely to continue. A strategic document revealed for the 2012-16 period by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) revealed earlier this month that it expects defense exports to reach $2 billion in four years.

SSM also said in its strategic document that it expects Turkey’s defense revenue to be $8 billion in 2016. The expectations are realistic given the money Turkey will pay in the next few years for expensive systems bought, such as F-35s and U-214 submarines from Germany, as well as the rapid increase in its exports mainly to Islamic countries, said one defense analyst here.

In recent years, Turkey’s top priority has been to increase the level of weapons it produces and to sell them to friendly nations.

Its two largest companies are the government-owned military electronics company Aselsan and the aerospace conglomerate Turkish Aerospace Industries.

As a result, Turkey expects to field Anka unmanned aerial vehicles to boost the military’s capabilities against the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). In this area Turkey these days also plans to field three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters.

In the aircraft area Turkey plans to buy about 100 F-35 joint strike fighters Lightning II aircraft, and later produce its own fighter.