Defense minister: 91 pct of arms used in Afrin offensive domestically produced


Around 91 percent of the weapons the Turkish forces are using in Operation Olive Branch were produced in Turkey, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said yesterday.

He added that preventing civilian casualties in northwestern Syria's Afrin was a top priority for the military.

"Wherever the Turkish army has been, it has stood up against oppression and cruelty. It has continued [Operation Olive Brach] with the same determination," Canikli said, as he rejected the allegations of civilian casualties during the operation.

In an interview with the Turkish language daily, Sabah, Canikli said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have cleared 612 kilometers of PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) elements so far in Operation Olive Branch.

Turkey took a noticeable leap forward in the defense industry as it domestically developed military equipment and combat vehicles in almost all fields of warfare, most notably the Altay (main battle tank), the T129 ATAK (attack helicopter) and the ANKA (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

In 2018, the defense industry has started offering new products for security forces. The defense and aerospace sector has also experienced an increase in export performance.

Main and sub-contractors operating in the defense industry continue to add new products to their activities with regard to contracts signed with procurement authorities. Thus, Turkey has moved its capabilities in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform to a new level. The first UAV system capable of autonomous flight and navigation in night and day conditions beyond the sight line with satellite control has been made available to the Turkish Air Force.

The ANKA-S system, consisting of two aircraft and related equipment, took its place in the inventory as one of the most competent systems in its class as safety and operational capability with national flight control computer, national air control computer and national friend/hostile recognition systems. ANKA-S will contribute to security forces for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance purposes.

The T129 ATAK Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter, which was developed to meet Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) needs for offensive and tactical reconnaissance helicopters, continues to increase in the inventory. This year, two helicopters were added to the inventory of ATAK helicopters, which numbered 27 last year. Following the autonomous tactical striking fixed wing drone (ALPAGU), the autonomous rotating-wing striking drone (KARGU) has started joining the inventory. KARGU was delivered to the Special Forces Command and the Naval Forces Command to increase the instant target detection, tracking and destruction capabilities of security forces.

Within the scope of the 35 millimeter Air Defense Systems Modernization and Airburst Ammunition Supply Project contract, an important milestone for Turkey's target of layered air defense system, the mass production of air defense artillery system, which proved its effectiveness against air-to-ground missiles and earned the title "Missile Hunter," has started. The systems produced will be delivered to the Land Forces and Air Forces command.

With the Modernization Towed Air Defense Guns, guns in the inventory of the TSK will be able to fire airburst ammunition that plays an important role in raising the effectiveness against weather threats to the desired level. Airburst ammunition will significantly increase the effectiveness of air defense systems. The need to increase efficiency levels in barreled weapon systems against the rapidly increasing number of navigational missiles, air-to-ground missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and similar air threats has brought up the issue of using a new generation of programmable airburst ammunition.

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