Turkey's defense sector makes strong showing in 2019

Over the past year, Turkey took significant steps in its indigenous defense sector, from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to tanks and warships.

Turkey's state-run and private defense and aviation companies developed, tested, and delivered aerial, naval and land systems during 2019.

In 2019, the country's leading aviation company Baykar's Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) -- named Akinci -- took off for the first time, making Turkey one of four countries able to produce UCAVs.

Another aviation giant, Turkish Aerospace, tested its Aksungur UAV, capable of doing 180 kilometers per hour (112 miles per hour), with the vehicle later entering the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) inventory.

The TSK also received Turkish Aerospace's Anka-S model UAVs, controllable via national satellites.

Turkish Aerospace delivered its new Atak-type multi-role combat helicopters and a number of Atak helicopters, with TSK inventories reaching 55.

The defense firm also successfully completed tests for the second phase of the Atak helicopter, which boasted additional electronic combat systems.

The Turkish Aerospace's multi-role utility helicopter, Gokbey, made its first certification flight in July.

The year also saw the delivery of Russia's S-400 air defense system to Turkey. The system is expected to go online in 2020.

Turkey's first air-to-air missiles Bozdogan and Gokdogan also completed testing this year.

Naval activities

Turkey began work on a fifth vessel as part of its National Ship (MILGEM) project, after completion of the fourth -- a corvette type warship, the TCG Kinaliada -- which came into the service this year.

The ship also hosted the launch of Turkey's first indigenous anti-ship missile.

In 2019, Turkey also set afloat its largest warship, the TCG Anadolu, expected to come into the service in 2020.

Research on various types of ships and submarines continued in Turkey throughout the year.

In 2019, Turkish defense giants such as Aselsan, STM, Havelsan, Roketsan, and Turkish Aerospace signed several domestic and international agreements.

Land projects

Enhancing its land forces in 2019, Turkey modernized its 169 M60T-type tanks.

New weapons carriers and armored vehicles entered the Turkish Armed Forces' inventory during the period.

An on-board fiber laser system, called Armol, designed and developed by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), successfully completed acceptance tests in 2019.

Aselsan's electromagnetic rail gun system, Tufan, was also tested, reaching record muzzle velocities.

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