Turkey’s defense industry thrives as Akıncı UCAV signs first export deal

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The Turkish defense industry, which has increased its export performance in recent years and aims to be among the top 10 in the world within five years, recently signed the first export contract for the air vehicle of state-of-the-art unmanned combat (UCAV) Bayraktar Akıncı, one of the company’s newest products.

Istanbul Defense and Aerospace Cluster Association (SAHA) Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Baykar drone tycoon Haluk Bayraktar assessing the sector’s performance in 2021, Anadolu Agency (AA) told Sunday ) that Turkey is giving positive results of its vision to nationalize defense and aviation products step by step.

Bayraktar pointed out that the biggest success of the sector this year is the increase in exports achieved with this vision.

The defense and aerospace industry broke a record by surpassing $3 billion for the first time in 2021 and achieved exports totaling $3.22 billion (TL 43.3 billion).

“The important point here is the development of domestic added value in the composition of exports, which is increasing year by year,” Bayraktar said, adding that while a strong and independent defense industry is indispensable for Turkey, it is important to strengthen defense and aviation exports to countries with which Turkey has strategic relations.

“Beyond providing economic gain, defense exports also provide a suitable basis for establishing strategic relationships with the countries you are exporting to and for developing all kinds of commercial and social activities with those countries. Therefore , it is of crucial importance that the sector’s export volume is efficient and sustainable,” he said.

Stating that the sector’s exports have increased significantly over the past 15 years in dollar terms, Bayraktar informed that the Turkish defense and aerospace sector’s export volume increased about seven times in dollar terms between 2006 and 2021. The sector also now constitutes around 1% of total global defense and aerospace exports.

“It’s a great success,” he said, “currently 75% of total exports in this area are still made by the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China.”

Stating that the industry’s main goal is to increase its market share globally and be among the top 10 exporting countries, Bayraktar said, “If the export volume continues to expand with this trend, we will be among the top 10. countries in defense exports within five years.

“Turkey, which reduced its defense imports by 60% today, will reach a significant point in the short to medium term with export-oriented work, based on the growing number of companies and projects in our sector. “, commented Bayraktar.

He further noted that as SAHA Istanbul, they strive to develop and produce major platforms, subsystems and critical components domestically with 704 enterprises and export them.

“We have helped the products of 76 enterprises to create overseas demand and increase their competitiveness,” he added.

Noting that in 2021, nearly 100 foreign companies participated in the show, they will continue to ensure that domestic manufacturers meet foreign companies this year at SAHA EXPO 2022 to be held from October 25 to 28.

UAVs, pioneers of UCAVs

Bayraktar pointed out that with the measures and efforts made to develop domestic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and UCAVs, both meet the needs of the country as well as the technology exported to the world.

He said export contracts have been signed with 16 countries for Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, which have completed 420,000 flight hours.

“We also entered into the first export contract of Bayraktar Akıncı UCAV. Under the contract, we will deliver Bayraktar Akıncı UCAVs and ground systems in 2023. Baykar, which carries out all its projects with its own resources from the research and development (R&D), generates over 85% of its revenue from exports,” he said.

Bayraktar said that “through these export revenues”, Baykar creates R&D resources for platforms such as the high-tech combat unmanned aerial system (MIUS) and Bayraktar TB3.

The Baykar official said that “not so long ago, the Turkish defense industry was an industry that looked like a contractor.”

Value-added products developed by the Turkish defense industry, such as armored vehicles, aircraft, naval platforms, ammunition, drones and UCAVs – whose intellectual property and industrial rights belong entirely to the countries – are exported to 169 countries, including NATO and members of the European Union. States.

“Therefore, we are striving to set our course and our target with a national focus. We need to increase the domestic production rate of critical subsystems and components as well as major developed platforms. With the increase in the number of localized products instead of products subject to export licensing, our industry will grow,” he said.

Bayraktar added that the defense and aerospace industry has led to the introduction of many inventions and technologies that make life easier in the fields of internet, global positioning system (GPS) and medicine. all over the world, and added that the development in these sectors heralds these technological solutions to soon contribute more to daily life.

“For example, drones used today for early detection of forest fires could play an active role in suppressing these fires in the future, with further studies underway,” he explained. .

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