Defence and Aerospace Sector Sustains Growth in Exports in 2018

26 Nisan 2019
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The latest data concerning the sector’s position in the international market was shared at a press conference organised by the Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association (SSI) on March 29.   The conference, entitled Informative Meeting on the Export Data of the Defence and Aerospace Sector, was hosted by Latif Aral Aliş, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SSI, at Çırağan Palace, and attended by Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, along with the members of SSI Board of Directors.


Speaking at the meeting were Aliş and Prof. Dr. Demir, who addressed the participants in front of a backdrop carrying the phrase “National Defence and Sustainable Growth for our Independence and Future”. The press conference, which opened with a brief video about the SSI, continued with the speech by Aliş and a presentation of SSI.   The event also featured a Q&A session, which was followed by Prof. Dr. Demir’s speech, during which he shared his opinions of the sector with the attendees.

Aliş opened his speech by reminding the attendees that two years ago, they had come together with Fikri Işık, the then Minister of National Defence, to announce the export figures of the defence and aerospace sector: “It was July 15 when we, unaware of the coup attempt, revealed our export figures. It has been two years since then, and we are still standing firm and tall. As the defence and aerospace sector, we will achieve even greater goals to secure democracy in our country, and for the benefit of our homeland.”


SSI Emerges as the Union with Largest Increase in Exports in Q1 2019

According to the information provided during the presentation, the exports of the defence and aerospace sector, which were valued at $884 million in 2011, have increased by 130 percent to reach $2.035 billion by the end of 2018. On the other hand, the export volume of the defence and aerospace sector reached $600 million in the first quarter of 2019, marking a 60 percent increase on the same period last year. Commenting on these developments, Aliş said: “Last year, we could achieve this figure only by the end of April. Based on Q1 data, we are the union that has achieved the highest increase in export growth, which indicates that our products are appreciated around the world and have been accredited by the global markets. We are continuing to provide strong support to our country’s economy.”

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Ten Turkish Companies Rank in the Top 100

Noting that since its establishment in 2011, the SSI had been constantly increasing the exports of the defence and aerospace sector, Aliş said: “There are now four Turkish companies on the list of the world’s top 100 defence companies, which is a great source of pride for us, but we will increase this number to 10 soon. In the defence and aerospace sector, which involves very high technologies and which fashions the technologies of the future, developing solutions in order to adapt to rapidly changing situations is vital. As a strategic industry that produces critical technologies in both the military and civilian fields, that guarantees national security, and that is a driving force of sustainable growth, we represent Turkey’s future on land, in the air, at sea and in space. Since our establishment in 2011, we have managed to increase exports constantly, and the increase in the growth rate of exports in our sector is much different to that of other sectors. We strive to maintain the uninterrupted and constant growth that we have achieved in the exports of our sector.”

Emphasising in his speech that the sector’s exports is many times the Turkey average, Aliş remarked: “Turkey’s exports were valued, on average, as $1.26 per kilogram in 2016, and increased to $1.32 per kilogram in 2018. The average value per kilogram of the defence and aerospace sector’s exports, on the other hand, increased from $27.74 per kilogram in 2016 to $39.71 and $46.59 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. We have reached a level that is almost 50 times the Turkey average. These figures reveal that our union is generating tremendous value, and that this value is being appreciated worldwide. The return from investments achieved by the of the defence and aerospace sector has reached a level that is 40 times the levels reported for other sectors. Thus, continuing to make investments in this area without losing any pace is of great importance for the development of our economy.”


Growth Rate to Surpass 20 Percent by Year End

Stating that they aim to increase their growth rate in exports and to achieve a 20 percent growth this year, Aliş added: “I believe we will even achieve a higher rate by the end of this year. Today, we see a Turkey that manufactures its own satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), trainer aircraft, helicopters, rifles, battleships, armoured vehicles, missiles and rocket systems. We see a Turkey that develops its own simulation systems and software; that participates as a partner in international projects such as the F-35 and A400M; that builds satellite production and testing centres; and that initiates projects for indigenous helicopters. We will achieve these goals together with our qualified personnel, research institutes, R&D laboratories, SMEs and prime contractor companies.”


Great Momentum in Defence and Aerospace

In his response to a question raised during the meeting about which item was the most prominent in the $600 million exports realised in the first three months of 2019, Aliş replied: “Interestingly, exports have a homogenous structure; there is no specific product that takes the front stage. The Turkish defence and aerospace sector is now a giant industry that is standing on its own two feet. It has already completed its early growth phase; it has stood up, started walking, and is now beginning to run, and you can easily understand the difference as soon as it runs. With such a homogenous structure, the sector has been increasing exports in all product groups, and as you can see, investments in the Turkish defence and aerospace sector are continuing at full pace. We have achieved such a great momentum. Accomplishing sustainable success in the defence and aerospace sector requires all of the components of the sector to grow in a balanced manner. To this end, we support the idea that universities should work with SMEs not only in the larger cities, but also in the smaller provinces, with a view to developing new products and joining the list of exporters.”


Ten Agreements Concluded at Malaysian Exhibition

Following Aliş’s speech, Prof. Dr. Demir shared his thoughts with the participants, stating that they had just returned from the LIMA’19 exhibition held in Malaysia, where they had signed a total of 10 Memoranda of Understanding, agreements and letters of intent.   Prof. Dr. Demir said: “This is a very significant development. The most remarkable participant at the exhibition was Turkey, and its presence was greatly appreciated by the Malaysian state officials who were following the exhibition. These agreements will be followed up, and the necessary steps taken to turn them into net export figures. We see that the purchase and sale of defence products are always associated with the current political agenda. Our country’s relations with various other countries in the form of soft power, our closeness with our friendly and brotherly nations, and the successes achieved especially in the field of defence products, will definitely pave the way for exports.”

Stating that the defence and aerospace sector is high on the agenda of Turkey, and that its successes in various fields are appreciated a great deal, Prof. Dr. Demir said: “Of course, along with technological advancements and developments, the issue of exports is also among the indispensable constituents of a sustainable defence and aerospace sector. Our export figures are far below what we have targeted. We believe we are on the verge of breaking point, and that once that point has been reached, the figures will start to increase rapidly. Although Turkey is not among the world’s top five exporters in the defence and aerospace field, its products are attracting attention worldwide. In particular, the demand for products that are used in special operations and that have already been field-tested is increasing. It is known that rival companies have secured their position through the sale of products in various countries for many decades, and competing with such countries can be quite challenging. However, we will keep working tirelessly towards achieving this, confident that we will pass that threshold as a result of our efforts. Once we accomplish this, our growth will be much higher than the percentages you see now, and I believe this will happen soon. When that day comes, we will be talking about billions of dollars.”

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Turkish Defence and Aerospace Sector Increases Presence in Far East and Africa

The presentations given during the press conference passed on information about the target markets of the sector and the world’s largest markets. While the target markets for the Turkish defence and aerospace sector were listed as the United States, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the European Union, and countries in the Caspian Sea region and the Gulf, it was also stated that the Turkish defence and aerospace sector is already increasing its impact and presence in the markets of the Far East and Africa.


Exports Web Portal Under Construction

SSI membership, which was 60 in 2011 at the time of its establishment, has today exceeded 700. Having boosted its promotional efforts with a view of increasing the growth rate of exports, the SSI is now working on an Exports Web Portal that will provide guidance to its members and the sector. Aside from the web portal, SSI is also working on an “SSI Vision Report” which presents the results of an analysis of the sector at a national and international level.


Turkish Defence and Aerospace Sector Promoted All Around the World

Another initiative of SSI aimed at boosting exports involves participation at more exhibitions and events under the coordination of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB). According to the information given during the press conference, participation at a national level was organised for seven international exhibitions last year, including those in Qatar, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, France, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Pakistan, in chronological order. The upcoming exhibitions this year 2019, for which national participation from Turkey has already been planned with a view to promoting the Turkish defence and aerospace sector, include:

  • IWA Outdoor Classics 2019, Germany
  • Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019, Germany
  • LAAD 2019, Brazil
  • Arms and Security 2019, Ukraine
  • Defense and Security 2019, Thailand
  • GDA 2019, Kuwait

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