The localization move by the Turkish defense industry has begun to flourish. While Pakistan's purchase of $1.5 billion worth of 30 T-129 ATAK helicopters is about to be completed, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are reportedly in talks for the domestic ANKA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which was on display at the International Dubai Airshow Aviation Exhibition. Saudi Arabia wants to buy six unmanned aerial vehicles (ANKA) and two ground service stations from Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI).
According to the well-known defense publication Defense News, projects for ANKA's procurement have been ongoing for a while. "The Saudis had some conditions regarding reconnaissance, and we are still negotiating this part of the deal," Görkem Bilgi, manager of the corporate marketing and communications department at TAI, said. The possibility of technology transfer between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is also on the table.
According to Euronews, the Saudis asked for a discount for the sales of ANKA due to the recent decline in oil prices. Currently, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has four ANKAs. Ten Armed ANKA-Ss, which can be controlled from thousands of kilometers away by satellite communication, will be delivered to the TSK, six in 2017 and four in 2018.
Meanwhile, there was another development in bomb exports. According to a statement by the Ministry of Defense of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an agreement was signed with the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKEK) in Turkey at the Dubai Airshow for the purchase of MK-82 and MK-84 bombs.
In a press release on the issue, Maj. Gen. Ishaq Saleh Al Baloushi, head of the Executive Administration of Industries and Development of Defense Capabilities at the UAE Defense Ministry, announced the financial value of the deal as $20.2 million.
KARAYEL UAV, which was leased from Vestel through service procurement by the TSK, was armed and deployed in operations last year and also cooperated with a Saudi Arabian company in Dubai. VESTEL Defense signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Arabian Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) at the Dubai Airshow, where the company displayed the Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle KARAYEL-SU system, the new member of the UAV family.
Under the agreement, production and repair of the electronic components of the KARAYEL UAV can be carried out in the AEC located in Saudi Arabia. Thus, the Turkish defense industry will have expanded its domain. With ammunition carrying capacity of 120 kilograms, the KARAYEL-SU UAV is flying with MAM-L and MAM-C missiles developed by ROKETSAN under the wing.
Turkish defense and aviation firms have made $1.07 billion exports worldwide in the first eight months of 2017, a slight increase from last year's $1.06 billion. The largest export, $443.9 million, was made with the U.S. Germany came second with exports valued at $140.2 million. India came in third at $66.2 million. In 2016, the U.S. was the largest defense export market for Turkey followed by Germany, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, the U.K., the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Top export items in 2015 were aircraft and helicopter parts, engines, tanks and other armored land vehicle parts, ammunition, turbojets for civilian aircraft, hunting rifles and receiver/transmitter equipment for military use.
According to the Turkish Defense Industry Association, Turkey currently exports one-third of its defense industry production, worth about $5 billion. Meanwhile, according to the Undersecretariat of Defense Industries (SSM), the current domestic participation rate in defense projects is 50-60 percent, and the defense industry has an aggressive goal to reach $25 billion and be self-sufficient by 2023. SSM data of Turkey's 2016 defense exports reached $1.9 billion, which was $487 million in 2006.
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