ECONOMY

Turkish defense industry to ink over 10 deals at leading Asia-Pacific fair

Turkish defense industry companies will sign more than 10 agreements on the sidelines of the 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA 2019), which is the Asia-Pacific region's most important exhibition in its field, according to Presidency of Defense Industry (SSB) Chairman İsmail Demir. Leading companies in the Turkish defense industry are taking steps towards cooperation with local partners under the coordination of the SSB's export development group. LIMA 2019, the 15th edition of the event first organized in 1991 under the coordination of the Ministry of Defense of Malaysia, kicked off on March 26 and will last until Saturday in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TUSAŞ/TAI), ASELSAN, Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade Inc. (STM), HAVELSAN, ROKETSAN and TAIS have been introducing and promoting their products and services in aerial platforms, marine systems, weapons systems, electronic systems, ammunition, simulators and logistics support.

Demir pointed to the importance of the region in terms of maritime trade, adding that Turkey's maritime companies have also taken part in the exhibition to undertake new collaborations.

"Various agreements will be signed in Malaysia, particularly on the introduction of some technologies here, the co-production of light and speed boats, some technological and scientific cooperation and collaborations with existing structures on design," he said. "Our companies within TAIS and Istanbul Shipyard will sign various agreements. These will prove our steps here, paving the way for us to step into the region."

Pointing out that new platforms bearing the signature of Turkish shipyards will be seen in this region in the future and that some of the technologies that do not exist in the region will also emerge, Demir said that technology transfer will bring significant gains in terms of the presence of Turkish companies in the market, which will, in a sense, bring forth projects that may lead to some partnerships in the future. The SSB chairman on Wednesday said Turkey's defense industry now wants to set an export target of over $3 billion for this year. As a result of accelerating efforts, sector export performance in 2018 increased by 17 percent compared to 2017. The industry broke its own record of $1.7 billion in November and moved the record to $2.03 billion at the end of the year.

Turkey's total defense and aerospace exports saw a 35.3 percent year-on-year increase in the first two months of this year, reaching $346.5 million, according to the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM).

Turkey's kamikaze drones, manufactured by the STM, also attracted a lot of attention from various authorities during the fair, according to SSB Chairman Demir. Noting that one of the leading Turkish defense manufacturers, HAVELSAN, will sign various memorandums of understanding with both state and private companies, Demir stressed that with these signatures steps will be taken towards some basic technologies, software fields and scientific cooperation.

"With the signatures of HAVELSAN and other companies, we will have inked more than 10 signatures during the fair," he said. "This is an indication of the important expansion we have made in the region. Turkish companies hold the biggest place in the exhibition area. The Malaysian authorities are very pleased with our presence and are grateful to us. I think we have taken important steps here to reinforce our presence in Southeast Asia."

The SSB chairman also gave information about negotiations on Malaysia's partnership for long-term projects such as Turkey's National Fighter Jet. "Friendly countries such as Malaysia are interested in such projects and we are talking over various options, including their participation in these long-term projects and listening to their intentions," Demir continued. "We have various contacts to build this structure. As a result of these contacts, we keep the doors open in the event of partnerships for our long-term and high-tech programs. We are now discussing the terms."

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