Analysis: Turkey takes next steps in development of critical technologies
By Lale Sariibrahimoglu
Ankara's newly published defence industrial strategic plan has set out an ambitious range of projects intended to modernise its armed forces. Announced on 27 March and running from 2012-16, the five-year strategy places a heavy emphasis on indigenous development to improve independence of manufacture and bolster foreign sales.
Murad Bayar, undersecretary for Turkey's Defence Industries Undersecretariat (SSM), told IHS Jane's that Turkey is still reliant on foreign imports for about 35 per cent of critical military technologies - such as engines, shafts, armour steel and composite products - but that action is being taken to improve domestic productivity.
Under the new industry plan this level of foreign dependence is set to be reduced and some progress has already been made: in 2011 the indigenous production target of 50 per cent was exceeded by two percentage points, up from 42 per cent in 2009.
The SSM plans to introduce a new model for programme management to strengthen linkage between similar systems, said Bayar. He highlighted Turkey's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme, in which the SSM has established infrastructure to produce all types of UAVs in accordance with a previously set-out roadmap. Similarly, all domestic missile projects will come under the same umbrella effort, leading to a common platform for all of the SSM's missiles.
However, the success of Turkey's UAV efforts has been questioned by Professor Ahmet Nuri Yuksel, founder and former dean of the aircraft engineering department of Istanbul Technical University. In an interview with Turkey's Taraf daily newspaper in March, he said that while domestic companies have received UAV funding from the state they often fail to manufacture operational systems.271 of 980 words
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