About the pandemic period, Demir said, “There was not much disruption in our projects. As you can see, we are constantly making deliveries in our projects. Rather than saying ‘we did very well, it would be more beneficial to say ‘we will do better than this,” he said.
President Demir gave the following information about the latest projects carried out:
“Our country did not have its own domestic and national air defence system three years ago. Air Defence is a cascade system. We delivered SUNGUR, HİSAR A+ and HİSAR O+, which have been commissioned recently. We are about to commission the land-to-land version of ATMACA right now. Our torpedo work continues. Electronic warfare has recently been a very important element of the operational field. We started to deliver very important products to the field in the field of electronic warfare.
Unmanned systems include land and sea vehicles too. In this sense, various prototypes are being developed. Some of them are in the trial phase, and some are in the inventory phase. For example, we modify some of our products. ŞİMŞEK target drone has become a cruise missile. We both increased the range and diversified the ammunition in our UAVs and UCAVs.”
“The road to SİPER”
Referring to the studies on air Defence systems, Demir said, “There are air Defence products to meet various threats. We currently have an interception envelope of HİSAR A+ and HİSAR O+ up to about 20 km. However, we will create an interception envelope of around 70 and 100 km on the way to SİPER. After that, we will rise above him in SİPER. We are slowly moving towards a system with the S-400 scale. In five years, we will go through these levels by filling them.”
Demir said about Turkey’s export licences, “exporting defence products cannot be done alone. The bilateral relations among nations, the geopolitical situation, there are too many factors involved. Exportation requires a licence and the defence ministry is the one to grant it. Not only the product but also the relations with that specific country must be examined. Exporting is also a tool to develop relations. In the past, we experienced that we requested an item and had problems at logistic levels. The export relation creates dependency, which makes you a better ally. Then you must stay behind your product and its logistics. As a result, export is an efficient tool to develop bilateral relations.
Demir said that there were 65 projects in the defence industry before. Today, there are more than 750 projects with a budget exceeding 70 billion dollars. Demir said that AKINCI UCAV, which has just joined the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces, will continue to develop and will be equipped with various engines and ammunition.
Stating that engine development in the defence industry covers a long process, Demir said, “Our tank engine is currently under tests. Our UAV engines started to be used. The first prototypes of our helicopter engine are out.” he said.
Regarding unmanned systems, Demir said, “We have unmanned marine vehicles working above and underwater. There are studies of unmanned ground vehicles. There are studies in light, medium and heavy classes. Prototypes are currently being raced for both autonomous and remotely controlled vehicles. Some are used in the field and those that are integrated with various weapons. We are trying to activate the flocks of unmanned sea vehicles. Experiments continue. Our project continues for UAVs to be deployed on naval platforms and work in aircraft carrier format.”
Making evaluations about the National Combat Aircraft (TF-X) Project, Demir said, “We have entered a very ambitious 5th Generation project like TF-X.” When asked about joint aircraft production with Russia, Demir said, “We talk to anyone who wants to cooperate on our terms. We will not wait for any country. We’re on our way now. Our design process continues. We even started the production of some parts. As a partnership, we told them that our door is open to those who want to be a partner in this program from friendly and allied countries.”
“IDEF needs to trigger exports.”
Demir also made the following evaluations about the 15th International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF21): “I talked to about 40 delegations. They all said, ‘Here we see where Turkey has come from. This is a showcase. The performance of the Turkish Defence industry products in the operations provided a certain awareness, which is very important. Seeing various products, there was proof that Turkey is now moving towards becoming a global power. This has been expressed many times by the delegations. This should trigger exports.
Upon a question, Demir touched upon electronic warfare systems and continued as follows:
“There is a dodge chase in electronic warfare. We used our UCAVs, but our opponents learned about the capabilities and use of our UCAVs. If we stay here, we’ll be caught. How can we use UCAV, which will do more advanced work, how we can use it one step further, more effectively, how can we continue our communication in the electronic environment uninterruptedly, how can we find our location in an environment where there is no GPS? We are trying to implement such technologies. We consider all of these. Because you can’t stop here. You have to be unstoppable in the operational environment. Your communication must be unbreakable. We are doing all kinds of technological studies possible.”
“I’m looking forward to TF-X.”
“What projects are you looking forward to?” On the question, Demir said, “I am looking forward to TF-X. I am also looking forward to our unmanned jet fighter aircraft and our rocket to go into space,” he said.
“If something is man-made, we do better.”
Giving messages for the youth, Demir continued as follows:
“Young people caught the Defence industry move. I use two slogans. The first is this: If something is man-made, we do better. Second, our dreams will be big, but we will not be dreamers. Having big dreams means looking into long horizons. You can’t go there by whistling. To do what is necessary and reach the goal, manpower, brainpower, preliminary work, sweating, reproaching, and some factors must be in place. Most importantly, we need to take every precaution to pave the way for our youth.”