Interview: Ali Serdar Baran, CEO of Thales in Turkey – MSI Turkish Defence Review / MSI TDR Reference Magazine of Turkish Defence and Aviation Industry

Interview: Ali Serdar Baran, CEO of Thales in Turkey

3 Kasım 2016


Thales has been an important partner for Turkey in defence and aerospace sector. We talked with Ali Serdar Baran, CEO of Thales in Turkey, about Thales’ activities in Turkey, and about future cooperation, with a special focus for combat aircraft.

Birol TEKİNCE: How do you place Thales in global market?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Thales is a global technology leader in the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14 billion in 2015. With over 22,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. To name few positions, Thales is:

  • N°1 worldwide in defence electronics,
  • N°1 worldwide in air traffic management,
  • N°1 worldwide in banking transaction security,
  • N°1 worldwide in integrated supervision and communication systems for rail networks and
  • N°1 worldwide in payloads for telecommunications satellites.

Birol TEKİNCE: Can you summarize the operations of Thales in Turkey?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Thales has been present in Turkey for over 25 years, with an office established since 1987 and has been providing its customers in Turkey with the most advanced technological solutions available in the transportation, defence and aerospace domains.

In the defence domain, Thales, with its Turkish partner, created the joint-venture YALTES in 2002. YALTES locally provides technologies, system integration solutions and system lifecycle support in the fields of Maritime Warfare Management Systems, Integrated Platform Control & Monitoring Systems for Vessels, and network-supported abilities. In 2011, Thales took over YALTES.

In transportation, in 2009, Thales established the company Thales Ulaşım Sistemleri (Thales Transportation Systems) in Turkey. This company delivers installation and performs site tests and commissioning, software tests, maintenance, project management and training.

To name few references:

  • Thales delivered the maritime patrol and the maritime surveillance aircrafts through MELTEM II programme.
  • Thales is providing signalling systems to Istanbul metro and to the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed line.
  • Thales provides its state-of-the-art IFEC TopSeries AVANT in-flight entertainment and connectivity system to Turkish Airlines.
  • Thales Alenia Space has built the Göktürk-1 observation satellite for the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.

Birol TEKİNCE: What are the major defence and aerospace projects in which Thales cooperates with Turkish industry?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Thales and the Turkish industry have been working closely together on several programs, including 3D Radar Modernization and Helmet Mounted Sight Display with ASELSAN, GENESIS with HAVELSAN and Göktürk with TAI.

For example, in the defence domain, Thales and ASELSAN signed in 2015 a cooperation agreement to continue the joint development of a missile launcher system. The cooperation between the two companies was initiated in 2010 and first stage firings of an integrated Missile Launcher System and LMM were demonstrated in 2014.

As Thales, we initiated very valuable cooperation with Turkish shipyards to address export market. Our brand in the naval domain is one of the strongest in the world. When it is combined with the excellent platforms of Turkish shipyards, the result is a powerful platform for both domestic and export markets.

In the space domain, Thales Alenia Space has built the Göktürk-1 observation satellite for the Turkish Ministry of National Defence and has developed the integration and test centre in Turkey. Here, the Class 100,000 clean rooms, spanning more than 3,000 square meters, will house all the latest-generation equipment needed for satellite integration and testing. Systems include a mechanical vibration test bench (shaker), a 950 cubic meter acoustic test chamber, a thermal-vacuum chamber measuring over 350 cubic meters, a compact antenna test range and supports for the deployment of solar panels and antennas.

We appreciate very much the valuable contribution of Turkish defence industry, particularly TAI, ASELSAN, TÜBİTAK, TÜRKSAT, ROKETSAN and TR Teknoloji for Göktürk-1.

Also, we believe that Göktürk-1 and next space projects will provide Thales and Turkish industry with a reliable heritage to address together the export market. We have already concrete opportunities.

Birol TEKİNCE: What are your plans regarding Turkish industry?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Our aim is to strengthen local ties with both large industrial groups and SMEs and continue to develop our industrial footprint and local talent pool. Thales has a strong willingness to formulate and implement partnerships within the Turkish Industry to address the export market.

We are also pleased to work with Turkish partners from the academic research community and from industry on new technologies and solutions.

Innovative Systems for Combat Aircraft

Birol TEKİNCE: In Defence, what are the Thales’ positions?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Around the world, Thales equips more than 50 land forces, over 70 types of aircraft and over 40 naval forces.

Birol TEKİNCE: What are the solutions you propose for combat aircraft?

Ali Serdar BARAN: For combat aircraft platforms, we provide a complete package of electronics to meet our customers’ need for tactical situation assessment. As a result, our customers are better equipped to:

  • Assess incoming threats,
  • Detect and to identify air and surface targets at short-, mid- and long-range,
  • Engage in reconnaissance,
  • Fuse data from different sensors for a complete picture of the battlefield and
  • Prevent detection by enemy forces through jamming and decoying.

Birol TEKİNCE: Thales is recognised for its capabilities for combat aircraft. What is the flagship product of Thales for combat aircraft?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Thales supplies the world’s best military airframers with the innovative systems they need for superior aircraft performance and self-protection.

The French Rafale is the most advanced combat aircraft of its generation. The Thales solutions account for about 25% of the total value of each Rafale. Thanks to Thales, the Rafale has now become the only European combat aircraft to benefit from the operational advantages of AESA radar technology. Active electronic scanning in the RBE2 radar represents a major step in the evolution of radar technology.

The AESA RBE2 radar, Europe’s first active electronically scanned array radar, produced by Thales, has been in production since 1997 and was combat proven in multinational operations in 2001. It can be fitted on large or medium fighter aircraft.

Birol TEKİNCE: In addition to the radar, what can Thales provide for combat aircraft?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Thales provides solutions covering the following areas:

  • Electronic warfare systems: The Thales electronic warfare system is fully integrated and provides a multi-spectral threat warning capability against hostile radars, missiles and lasers. The solution, known as Spectra, contributes to passive tactical situation awareness, all-weather long-range detection, identification and location of threats.
  • Mission computers: The Modular Data Processing Unit (MDPU) is the cornerstone of the avionics and weapon system. Sensor data fusion draws on the computing power of the MDPU to process data from the radar, the optronics suite, the electronic warfare, the Identification of Friends and Foes (IFF), the missile seekers and the data-link systems.
  • Optronics: On the Rafale, the radar is coupled with a Front-Sector Optronics (FSO) system covering long-range detection and identification, high-resolution angular tracking and laser range-finding for air, sea and ground targets. Operating in optical wavelengths, this sensor is immune to radar jamming.

The Thales Damocles targeting pod draws on its laser designation function to give combat aircraft full day and night laser-guided weapon capabilities. The Airborne Reconnaissance and Observation (AREOS) features automatic imagery collection, thanks to both its sensors and its real/deferred time transmission capability.

All our components and solutions are technology ITAR free.

Birol TEKİNCE: What are your ambitions for the future in Turkey?

Ali Serdar BARAN: Turkey is a strategic country for Thales. We have a broad product and technology portfolio. Therefore, we firmly believe we would be an ideal partner for Turkey. We are keen to formulate and implement partnership with Turkish Industry based on our technical and marketing complementarities to address jointly domestic and third markets.

On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Ali Serdar Baran, CEO of Thales in Turkey, for taking the time to answer our questions and providing us with such valuable information.

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