Global weapon sales are always subject to political influences. For many years, Turkey and Israel have maintained a close defense relationship that extended to training in Turkey and large procurement deals. Turkey’s $688 million buy of Israeli upgrades to create 170 M-60T “Sabra” tanks will remain the high-end backbone of its armored corps, until its new Leopard 2A4s are operational. Over 50 of its F-4 Phantom jets received the $700 million Israeli “F-4E Terminator 2020” upgrade to extend their competitiveness and service lives. They’re joined by Israeli drones like the Harpy radar killer, Searcher-II, Aerostar, and larger Heron UAVs that serve with Turkish forces.
Defense News reports that Turkey’s recent competition for 80 advanced anti-tank missile launchers and up to 800 missiles has a surprising winner. After reportedly evaluating bids from South Africa’s Denel (Ingwe), Israel’s Rafael (Spike), Raytheon (TOW family), and Russia, the winner is… Russia’s AT-14/9M133 ‘Kornet E’, who walks away with a $70 million contract. The contract is expected to be signed in late August, with deliveries taking place in 2009.
The Chosun Ibo newspaper reports that Korea Aerospace Industries has finalized a contract to export 55 of its homegrown XKT-1 light trainers to Turkey by 2013. The deal is valued at $500 million, making it Korea’s largest ever aircraft order and the country’s second largest defense sale behind the $1 billion 2001 with Turkey for its K-9 mobile howitzer. Other sources including Yonhap, Middle East Times, et. al. confirm the news.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of Turkey’s request for 100 MK-54 Lightweight All-Up-Round Warshot Torpedoes, 50 containers, required equipment platform and auxiliary upgrades and modifications, kits, support equipment, exercise hardware, maintenance facility upgrades, software development/integration, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, training equipment, U.S. Government (USG) and contractor representatives, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $105 million.
A recent DID article covering the Eurofighter consortium’s offer to Turkey had noted that a key Defense Industry Executive Committee meeting on January 12, 2007 would determine that country’s continued involvement in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. That decision was positive, and on January 25, 2007, Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 production process. While final details have not yet been worked out, these signatures of commitment will help determine the full array of industrial partners who will be part of a production and maintenance program that’s likely to span up to 3,000 aircraft. Signatories to date include Australia, Britain, Canada, and The Netherlands. During Turkey’s signing ceremony, US Deputy SecDef Gordon England was quoted as saying that “the three remaining partners – Italy, Norway, and Denmark – will all likely sign by the end of February.”
In June 2005 the government of Turkey and Sikorsky signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy 12-17 S-70 Seahawk helicopters for the Turkish Navy. Sikorsky just announced that it has managed to turn that MoU into a contract with the Ministry of National Defense, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) for 17 new S-70B Seahawks, with first deliveries to begin in a year later than originally envisioned in 2009.
Turkey currently flies 7 S-70B Seahawks, after one of its helicopters crashed in 2002. The contract includes an order for 12 helicopters with options for another 5, as well as a retrofit program for existing S-70Bs, ongoing support, and other aspects. According to Turkish reports, the reason for the long delay was apparently the settling of a payment methods dispute between Turkey and Sikorsky.
DID’s article “Today’s Special: Turkey Sub RFI” covered Turkey’s solicitation for 4 new diesel-electric submarines to augment its fleet of U-209 Class boats. Defense-Aerospace.com passes on an official list of firms who responded to the solicitation, as well as a copy of the RFI itself.
Note that the responding firms are not all submarine builders; indeed, most are component makers or submarine-launched weapon suppliers. According to Turkey’s SSM defense procurement agency, they are:
Back in May 2005, DID looked at Turkey’s launch of a $700 million helicopter competition to provide 32 military utility helicopters and 20 fire fighting helicopters. Last week, the Turkish Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) extended the submission date for the TSK Helikopter Program RFP from June 15, 2006 to September 15, 2006. The original reply date had been December 5, 2005. In addition, the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued on January 6, 2006 for the Turkish Basic Trainer Aircraft (TEU) Program has been extended until July 14, 2006, at the request of the potential bidders that received the RFP. Defense-Aerospace.com carried both the TSK helicopter and the TEU trainer releases.
As DID has previously noted, Boeing’s SLAM-ER is an advanced derivative of the Harpoon missile, and competes with precision attack missiles like Lockheed’s JASSM, and European missiles like the EADS Taurus KEPD 350 and the MBDA Storm Shadow. It is deployed with the US Navy, and will be deployed on the South Korea’s new F-15K Strike Eagles. Turkey will use the SLAM-ER as a medium-range standoff weapon on its F-16 aircraft, where it will complement the recently acquired but shorter-range Lockheed JSOW precision glide bomb. The order includes: