Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said Turkey’s defence industry aims to make use of national production and that increases exports to more than $1.7 billion.
Yilmaz pointed out that a serious study into local production of defence systems is necessary to allow the increase in exports, speaking at Anadolu Agency’s Editor’s Desk on May 13.
“Turkey’s dependence on foreign armed forces and their defence production has decreased to less than 50 percent from 85-90 percent over 12-13 years,” Yilmaz said.
Turkey’s main battle tank which is named “ALTAY” was set for mass production starting from this year, while control tests still continue.
According to Yilmaz, using national production is integral to Turkey’s success, and the Turkish SOM missile which uses an engine produced by France is a good example.
“We want to export the SOM missile, but France says ‘the engine is ours, and you cannot export it to a third country.’ You cannot sell your own product. All the material it consists of - software, engine, including a camera or even the tiniest system, which can make your own product 5 percent foreign, may prevent you from exporting it,” said Yilmaz.
Turkey’s first locally manufactured assault helicopters, ATAK, came into use for the Turkish Armed Forces on April 25, which were unveiled in 2014.
Ankara spent over $1 billion on defence, research and development, while Turkey’s defence spending was $13.2 billion in 2014, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.
The top export items were aircraft, helicopter parts, engines, armoured-land vehicles, speed boats, missiles, rockets, launching platforms, light weapons and electronic systems, including transmitters, simulators, sensors and software.
Turkey plans to spend around $70 billion on military equipment until 2023, when the country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the republic.