The Turkish defense industry has various high-quality products for African countries and the states in the region are already interested in what Türkiye has to offer, the head of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) said Friday.
“Some of our products particularly come to the fore but we have various capabilities beside them,” Ismail Demir told Turkish daily Sabah as part of the Africa Aviation and Defense Show (AAD2022), which is held in the administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria.
Some 25 companies from Türkiye have participated in the fair.
Demir said that Turkish defense giant Aselsan has already partnered with a company in South Africa, enabling the country’s defense sector to reach the continent.
He said that as part of the fair, they reevaluated the cooperation opportunities while displaying the capabilities of the Turkish defense industry.
“African countries are interested in many of our defense products. Countries have different needs. There are needs such as border security, sensitive facility security, armored vehicles, unmanned aerial systems. Countries with a coastline have demands for naval platforms,” Demir said.
He stressed that since Africa in general now sees Türkiye as one of the important players in this field and approaches it that way, “we need to be in Africa at every opportunity and remind ourselves.”
“Of course, not only us, but also many countries show up here,” Demir said, but Türkiye “comes with suggestions that will reveal our difference.”
He said that they aim not only at the seller-buyer relationship but they evaluate cooperation and partnership opportunities and other solutions.
The defense official said they participate in such fairs and wait for the events to be held in Türkiye to finalize agreements. “We have no doubts about the quality of our products,” he added.
Various unmanned land and air vehicles, armored vehicle platforms, weapon systems, naval systems, electronic systems, ammunition, simulators and logistic support products produced by Turkish defense industry companies are showcased during the defense and aviation fair, which hosts the largest and most advanced technologies in the African continent, where air, land and sea capabilities are exhibited.
At the Turkish National Pavilion, information on the defense industry and advanced technological capabilities will be presented to all exhibitors, especially African military officials, and cooperation opportunities will be evaluated.
Among the products, domestically produced Anka and Aksungur unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), manufactured by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), attracted great attention from fair participants and are preparing to pave the way for new export successes for the Turkish defense industry.
Ömer Yıldız, deputy general manager of TAI UAV Systems, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they have delivered three Anka UCAVs to Tunisia and received a request for two more vehicles. "We are negotiating with three more countries in Africa; we are very close to an agreement," for Anka and Aksungur, he said. TAI will also soon deliver UCAVs to Kazakhstan.
The TAI official added that their efforts to bring new capabilities to UCAVs continue as well.
Stating that they are working on the integration of the free-falling version of the Kuzgun ammunition, which can carry different warheads from 20 kilograms to 60 kilograms (44 pounds to 132 pounds) and was developed domestically by the Defense Industries Research and Development Institute (SAGE) of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye(TÜBITAK), to Aksungur, Yıldız stated that rocket and turbo-propelled versions will follow.
"We have finished the ground tests of Kuzgun, we have come to the virtual firing point. Probably within one month, the integration of Kuzgun will be completed and it will be used in the field.”
“Kayı, which is also developed by TÜBİTAK SAGE, is one of the ammunition waiting in line for integration. There are LGK (laser guidance kit) and miniature bombs developed by Aselsan, as well,” he said.
“We will integrate these into Aksungur, respectively.”
Yıldız stated that they will deliver the three rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with the ability to carry 80 kilograms of payload to the SSB by the end of the year.
He added that they have started work on another vehicle with a carrying capacity of 200-250 kilograms.
Separately, Didem Aral, Foreign Trade Manager and Board Member of Samsun Yurt Defense (SYS), which has the world-renowned pistol brand CANiK, told AA that they received great interest and demand at HuntEx, the Hunting and Shooting Fair held in Africa on April 22-24, adding that they continue to be the center of attention at the AAD Fair as well.
"We have the opportunity to meet with many armored vehicle platform manufacturers, system manufacturers, naval system manufacturers and electronic system manufacturers, who are among our potential customers,” Aral said.
“We are evaluating cooperation opportunities by making contacts with many countries here,” she added.