Turkey boosts indigenous defence sector in 2019 - Anadolu

Turkey took significant steps towards developing an indigenous defence sector in 2019, stepping up efforts to meet targets set by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for 2023, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkish aircraft manufacturer Baykar, a company that has played a critical role in making Turkey an emerging drone power, successfully tested its first Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), Akıncı, in December. The new vehicle will make Turkey one of only four countries in the world able to produce UCAVs. 

Meanwhile, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) tested its Aksungur UAV, Anadolu said. The Turkish military also received this year TAI’s Anka-S model UAVs, controllable via satellite, Anadolu said.

The company has been working to develop Turkey’s first fighter jet TF-X, a project which has become more crucial after the United States halted delivery of F-35 stealth fighters to Turkey over Ankara’s decision to acquire Russian S-400 missile defence systems. 

TAI delivered its new Atak-type multi-role combat helicopters and a number of Atak helicopters, with 55 now serving in the armed forces, Anadolu said. The defence firm also successfully completed tests for the second phase of the Atak helicopter, while its multi-role utility helicopter, Gökbey made its first certification flight in July.

Turkey started receiving shipments of Russian S-400 components in July and the first S-400 battery is expected to be fully installed in the first quarter of 2020. The country also completed tests of its first air-to-air missiles, Bozdoğan and Gökdoğan, this year. 

Turkey initiated the MILGEM (National Ship) project in 2000 to locally design and build a fleet of multipurpose corvettes and frigates. The project’s fourth vessel, TCG Kinaliada, a corvette-type warship, became operational this year and works for building a fifth vessel were started. Turkey’s largest warship, TCG Anadolu, is also expected to come into the service in 2020, Anadolu said.