Turkish firm Aselsan seeks global role in defense

Turkish firm Aselsan seeks global role in defense

Burak Bekdil AMMAN
Turkish firm Aselsan seeks global role in defense

A Jordanian woman wears night vision goggles produced by Aselsan. DHA photo

Turkey’s top defense company Aselsan is seeking an established role in global markets by expanding its foreign operations, company officials said, as they inaugurated the leading military electronics specialist’s production facility in the Jordanian capital Amman.

“We have plans for similar operations in other countries,” Aselsan’s board chairman, Hasan Canpolat, said at the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by Jordan’s King Abdullah II. “This plant is part of our strategy to establish our company in global markets.”

“There are several countries that wish to nationalize their defense industries. Aselsan can provide these countries with the capabilities they wish to develop. Next in line could be Asian-Pacific countries,” Canpolat added.

He stated that Aselsan aims to generate half of its defense revenue from foreign operations.

Last year, Aselsan opened a $44 million plant in Kazakhstan, in partnership with Kazakhstan Engineering. The plant caters to Kazakhstan’s defense industry by producing nine electro-optical products, including thermal cameras and field glasses. It will also undertake a number of modernization drives for Kazakhstan’s T72 tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles.

Aselsan officials said the joint venture in Jordan would help create a gateway for the company to Middle Eastern and North African markets.

Aselsan Middle East (AME) is a partnership between Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company, and the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB). KADDB owns 51 percent of AME, and Aselsan has 49 percent.

AME will produce border security equipment for the Jordanian and potentially other Middle Eastern armies, company officials stated. 

AME produces night vision and thermal camera systems, and operates test and calibration laboratories. It has a capacity to produce 6,000 night vision devices annually. Recently, AME signed a deal to produce its SAGER thermal sighting system for the Jordanian army.

Nurfer Oğuz, AME’s general manager, said the company’s sales this year will reach $27.5 million. “We are planning to increase our sales growth by four to five times in the next few years,” Oğuz said.

Aselsan officials said the company’s ongoing joint programs with its Jordanian partner include mini-drones and unmanned helicopters. Future cooperation is planned in the fields of software-based radios, as well as upgrades of tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters.

Aselsan also runs operations at its plant in the United Arab Emirates. It runs a subsidiary in Azerbaijan and a design office in South Africa. Company officials say Aselsan would soon launch a research laboratory in the Silicon Valley.