Mar 02 2019

Turkey has more than 600 ongoing national defence projects, says vice president

Turkey is currently meeting 65 percent of its defence needs through its own local and national industry and has more than 600 ongoing national defence projects, Turkish vice president said on Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Fuat Oktay said Turkey found it essential to use its own resources in the defence industry while speaking in a summit organised by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). Turkey has been working day and night to develop its own arms industry, particularly since the early 2000s, the vice president said. 

"In the defence industry, our local production rate increased from some 15 percent to 65. Using the experience we got with the ATAK [T-129] helicopter, for instance, we opened a whole new page with heavy-class attack helicopters," Oktay said.

Turkey currently has more than 600 national projects in the field of defence technologies, he said, adding that the country’s first national aircraft would be in the sky in 2026 and would be added to the inventory in 2031. 

"In 2002, we exported defence and aviation industry products worth $248 million, and by 2018, this figure had risen eightfold to over $2.035 billion,” Oktay said.

Developing a national defence industry and increasing Turkey’s arms exports is one of the priorities of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last year, Turkey tested an engine to be used in the production of locally made helicopters, while it sold 30 attack helicopters to Pakistan, its largest defence export on record.