Turkey’s leading defense company ASELSAN set a new export record during the challenging COVID-19 period that halted the businesses of many firms around the world and hammered world trade.
The company has increased the number of countries that uses its products and technology to 70 in total with six new countries added in 2020, ASELSAN Chairperson Haluk Görgün told Anadolu Agency (AA) Saturday.
"In these difficult days when the pandemic is defined as a 'unique crisis,' ASELSAN has been able to carry out its operations from all over the world without interruption, thanks to the fact that it has carried all its workflow and communication to digital platforms long before the pandemic,” Görgün said, noting that the company has provided a record-level forex revenue of $327 million (TL 2.51 billion) while an additional $90 million in collections is expected for the year-end.
“As we are in the last quarter of 2020, we are proud to be breaking our new international sales record this year despite the ongoing pandemic,” he said.
The ASELSAN chairperson’s interview came following the recent inauguration ceremony of a new ASELSAN facility in the capital Ankara which was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Nov. 12.
Stating that they continue their efforts to achieve the goals set by Erdoğan, Görgün emphasized that the works will continue to provide all kinds of support to the defense sector which is getting more and more powerful.
Görgün pointed out that the rapid change of technology has also altered the balance within the defense industry, and that “the situation not only affected the platforms and systems that our forces need in the field but also deeply affected all internal processes that defense industry companies are used to, from the design of the products and services developed to the market.”
Emphasizing that defense industry companies such as ASELSAN need new ways of doing business in areas including technology, research and development (R&D), procurement, industrialization, localization and nationalization, business development and talent management. Görgün said, "in this process, the importance of both supply and workforce increases, even more, when we see COVID-19’s impact on business style and business conduct.
“The technology acquisition cycle requires action on three main issues: digital transformation, supply management and workforce talent profile,” he noted.
The defense giant chairperson went on to say that as a strong, innovative and visionary organization, they not only produce high-tech products but also work with all their might to pioneer development throughout the world.
"As in the defense industry, we have maintained our leading position in the employment of a highly qualified workforce for many years. We have strengthened our power with our 2,100 employees who have joined us in the past two years and have made a great contribution to our economy in terms of employment. The most successful engineers of our country prefer to support the development of the domestic and national defense industry under the roof of ASELSAN and work with all their might,” Görgün underlined.
Commenting on the company’s local suppliers, Görgün expressed that the company would not “tolerate” using goods from abroad that can be produced in Turkey.
He said more than 4,000 suppliers played a major role in ASELSAN's efforts and success in regards to its domestic production.
Görgün expressed that thanks to their local suppliers, 65% of the company's purchasing comes from within the country, which amounts to nearly $1.2 billion. Over $100 million remains in the country with the products manufactured in Turkey, he added.
"We are grateful to all our valued business partners who have helped us grow more every quarter, to be one of the four companies in the world that are not affected by the COVID-19 and to continue our deliveries without interruption,” he said.
Emphasizing that ASELSAN is progressing rapidly toward becoming a global defense industry company, Görgün stated that they produce in friendly and allied countries with subsidiaries and affiliates operating in various fields of the defense industry, from artificial intelligence to semiconductor technologies.
"We will continue our sustainable and stable marketing activities in global markets, without stopping, tiring, with our wide range of products ranging from civil systems to military solutions.”
The company has currently 12 foreign and 15 domestic subsidiaries.
Stating that ASELSAN's R&D activities continue without slowing down, Görgün said, "We imagine, design and develop tomorrow's technologies today, just as we have produced today's technologies yesterday.”
Görgün said that works and targets in areas such as artificial intelligence, sensors and imaging technologies, autonomous and robotic systems, directed energy and electromagnetic launch weapons, broadband network technologies (5G and beyond), invisibility technologies, space technologies, energy transmission, bio-defense and health technologies, advanced materials and quantum technologies which were included in Turkey’s 11th development plan are also in line with ASELSAN's near-term goals.
Commenting on ASELSAN’s contribution to transferring its technological depth and experience in the defense industry to other fields, Görgün said, “we have achieved significant gains in many areas such as breathing apparatus. We develop products such as MR, which can be done by a few countries in the world and require deep technology in the civil field. In the same way, we are developing signaling solutions for rail systems.”
“Looking from the past to the present, the technology and knowledge produced in the defense industry have given direction to civil applications,” he added.
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