The Turkish defense industry struck the single-largest export deal in its history Thursday as the country won contracts to build four corvettes for the Pakistan Navy.
The multi-billion dollar agreement came after a very competitive bidding process where Turkish firms faced all kinds of strategies, including price lowering, from other bidders.
In the end, however, the Turkish defense industry won the tender thanks to the high technology and design competence it offered, in addition to its well-calculated strategies during an exhaustive six month negotiations period.
While firms from other bidding countries lowered prices during the tender process, the Turkish team played its technology card well, in accordance with the instructions of Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli. Thanks to the superior technology, design capability and assurance it provided, Turkey eventually won the bid.
The project is expected to mobilize Turkey's domestic market. The process of building four corvettes for Pakistan will involve approximately 1,000 medium-sized companies while employing hundreds of engineers.
Shortly after the conclusion of the tender process, Turkish and Pakistani authorities signed the deal in a ceremony in Rawalpindi. The program was attended by the Deputy National Defense Minister and Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) Board Chairman Şuay Alpay, Deputy Undersecretary of Ministry of National Defense and ASFAT Deputy Board Chairman Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu, Deputy Undersecretary of Ministry of National Defense and ASFAT Board Member Ambassador Basat Öztürk, Istanbul Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Erdinç Yetkin and Turkey's Ambassador to Pakistan Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul.
A presentation before the signing ceremony gave details about the four corvettes and the sales process. The negotiations began in 2015 and the first purchase demand was made in 2017, whereas the final sale negotiations lasted 12 days.
According to the final agreement, two ships will be built in Istanbul and two in Karachi. Two of the corvettes will join the Pakistan Naval Forces in 2023 and the other will be commissioned in 2024.
The first ship will be constructed in 54 months and the remaining will be built in 60, 66 and 72 months, respectively.
The corvettes, which can cruise uninterrupted for 15 days, will be 99.56 meters long and 14.42 meters wide with a maximum speed of 26 knots.
The deal also includes the sharing of engineering information and training program for engineers.
Turkey has built four corvettes so far within the framework of the national shipbuilding program (MİLGEM) namely, TCG Heybeliada, TCG Büyükada, TCG Burgazada and TCG Kınalıada, while a fifth vessel is under construction. The country's goal is to build eight corvettes within the scope of the program.