In recent years, many high-tech Turkish-made products have been showcased at defense industry exhibitions worldwide. Turkish weapon systems have also begun to appear in various parts of the world. Moreover, Turkey started to export its defense equipment to several countries, including warships.
With its ambitions to become a regional superpower, Turkey’s defense industry has accelerated its indigenization efforts.
After 2000, a new era began for the Turkish defense industry. In 2001, a Technology Development Zone law was passed, which improved co-operation among universities, research institutions, and production sectors. The government focused on R&D projects in line with the modernization needs of the Turkish Armed Forces. The Turkish Naval Research Centre and Naval Design Project Bureau were established in this period for the Turkish Navy’s modernization needs. Efforts have accelerated in recent years and the government provided significant incentives to domestic companies — a 90% reduction in corporation tax and up to a 50% contribution for investment in land. With incentives and the support of the government, the indigenization rate increased from 20% to 65% between 2002–2020. In the case of specific defense technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, this rate is more than 90% now. The R&D budget increased from almost nothing to $1.2 billion. To develop high-tech subsystems such as hybrid-fueled rockets, semi-conductors, engines and photodetectors, new companies were established. In 2002, there were 66 Turkish defense projects with a budget of approximately $5.5 billion. Now more than 600 projects are being carried out with a budget of $60 billion. Turkey now boasts 1,000 companies, SMEs, research institutions and universities working in the defense industries.
In the near future, Turkey plans to build its anti-air warfare destroyer and national submarine. The development and production of frigates, fast patrol boats, and other ships are likely to continue. With its ambitions, it seems that the projects will not be limited to these. A modern navy, especially with smart unmanned systems, is not far away at all.
In this video, you will find out the success story of the Turkish Defense Industry with the focus on the Turkish Naval Forces.