Turkish Armed Force | Page 19 | World Defense


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Turkey launches homemade submarine program
22 Oct 2019

Turkish submarines line up during a military parade marking the 87th anniversary of Victory Day in Istanbul on Aug. 30, 2009.
(Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has launched the country’s first indigenous submarine program, known as MILDEN, a Turkish acronym for “national submarine."

Under the plan, local defense contractors will design, develop and produce the R-class submarines at domestic shipyards by using the technology they earned from an ongoing submarine program.

Rear Adm. Mehmet Sari, deputy general director for the Defence Ministry’s shipyards department, said now that specialist teams have been assigned to the submarine program, the next phase is construction planning.

Delivery of the first sub to the Turkish Navy is expected by 2040.

The air-independent propulsion submarines will feature silent cruising, advanced heavy torpedoes and guided missiles. Several local contractors, from electronics specialists to missile makers, are to join the consortium that will build the submarines. The vessels will be constructed at the Gölcük naval shipyards.

“The program will be a copy of the German contract,” a naval specialist in Ankara told Defense News.

Under a 2011 contract worth €2.5 billion (U.S. $2.8 billion), six Type 214 submarines are to be built for the Turkish Navy, with some of the subsystems supplied by local contractors.

Turkish military electronics specialist Aselsan, a government-controlled company, is providing electronic support measures and sensor systems for the submarine program. Military software specialist Havelsan, another government-controlled company, will build an integrated command-and-control suite.

The Type 214 is based on the Type 209 SSK built built by German firm Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft. The Type 214 include design features from the German shipbuilder’s Type 212. The Turkish sub displaces 1,700 tons when surfaced, has eight torpedo tubes able to deploy heavyweight torpedoes — such as the Atlas Elektronik SeaHake — and has anti-ship missiles, such as the Harpoon and Exocet.

In 2017, Turkish and German naval specialists signed a letter of intent to cooperate on a contract to build a variant of the Type 214 diesel-electric submarine for the Indonesian Navy.


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Italy’s decision to remove air-defence assets from Turkey unrelated to Syria
Oct 26 2019


Italy’s decision to remove anti-missile batteries it stationed in Turkey as part of a NATO commitment to defend the country is not a reaction to Turkey’s military operation in Syria, Defence News reported on Friday.

Italy had placed the SAMP/T battery in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Kahramanmaraş in 2016 after Germany decided to withdraw its Patriot systems from Turkey, ending its role in a three-year NATO mission to help bolster the country's air defences against threats from Syria's civil war.

Italy’s Defence Undersecretary Angelo Tofalo told the Italian parliament on Thursday that Italy’s air-defence system and the 130-member military team manning it would be withdrawn as of Dec. 31.

“The end was planned for December this year, and we are therefore carrying out what was planned,” Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini said in Brussels while attending a NATO defence ministers’ meeting.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also made a similar remark.
“The Italian decision was made this spring, the result of them being there for a long time and their mandate ending by the end of the year,” he said.
Spain also has Patriot batteries in Turkey that have been stationed in İncirlik airbase in the southern province of Adana since 2015.

Following the start of Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria on Oct. 9, some European countries have taken measures to suspend new arms sales to Turkey. The possibility of Spain to withdraw its air-defence systems in İncirlik was mentioned in the media, but was denied by the Spanish Embassy in Ankara.

“I expect any (decision about the) extension of the Spanish presence will be taken in consultation with allies,” Stoltenberg said in Brussels.
Ahead of the NATO ministers’ meeting, Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that NATO members should continue helping Turkey deploy air defence equipment on the border.

Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria ended as of Wednesday, after Turkey made two separate deals with the United States and Russia for the withdrawal of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) towards the south from territories along the Turkish border.

Turkey plans to establish a 32 km deep safe zone along a 120 km stretch of the border, while on the east and west of the safe zone Turkish and Russian forces will conduct joint patrols.


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No obliteration: Western arms embargo has little impact on Turkey as it looks east
By: Burak Ege Bekdil and Matthew Bodner

Turkish soldiers patrol the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad on the border between Syria and Turkey on Oct. 23, 2019. (Bakr Alkasem/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA, Turkey, and MOSCOW — A number of Turkey’s NATO allies have suspended arms sales to the country in condemnation of its military incursion into Syria, but analysts and officials are shrugging off the embargo, saying it will have a minimal impact on the military’s operational capabilities.

Several countries, including France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Spain and Germany, imposed arms embargoes against the Turkish government after its troops entered Syria to attack the Kurdish militia, which Turkey views as a terrorist group. Turkey said its military operation, launched Oct. 9, will help create a safe zone in northeastern Syria.

The Trump administration announced its own sanctions against Turkey earlier this month over the offensive in Syria, though those sanctions included a Treasury Department waiver to allow foreign military sales to continue, according to a senior defense official. President Donald Trump also threatened via Twitter earlier this month that he would “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if Ankara took any action he considered “off-limits.” But the president said Oct. 23 that he plans to lift all sanctions leveled against Turkey for its recent military operations following reports of a fresh cease-fire agreement.

As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

“Our arms imports from those countries are limited. None has monopoly on any system which we can easily procure from other suppliers,” a senior Turkish diplomat told Defense News. “Non-Western suppliers are keen to replace Western manufacturers.”

Turkey’s top procurement official, Ismail Demir, also downplayed the potential impact of the embargo. “None of that will affect us,” he said. “We have taken precautions regarding alternative sources as well as local production.”

The European Union joined scores of other countries to condemn the Turkish operation in Syria.

“The E.U. condemns Turkey’s military action, which seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region, resulting in more civilians suffering and further displacement and severely hindering access to humanitarian assistance," the organization said in a statement. “Turkey’s security concerns in northeast Syria should be addressed through political and diplomatic means, not with military action, and in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

A senior Turkish military official ruled out operational weaknesses in the Syria campaign resulting from the embargo. “The operation [into Syria] took off on assumption that it would be an open-ended campaign. Equipment and ammunition stocks would suffice for several months," the official explained.

Shortly after the Turkish military incursion, Washington brokered a cease-fire between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to resume the campaign if Kurds did not vacate northern Syria as agreed.

Turkey boasts that it locally produces most hardware and ammunition required for the campaign. Turkish officials claim local production currently meets 70 percent of the military’s requirements, compared with 20 percent 15 years ago.

Demir said most systems used in the operation including helicopters, smart ammunition, rockets, infantry rifles, armored vehicles and electronic warfare systems are supplied by the local industry. However, the Turkish military did experience a temporary shortage of ammunition, a Turkish security official told Defense News on the condition of anonymity. “Some ammunition stocks we normally bought from the West ran short but was quickly replaced by Russian supplies,” he said.

Alternative suppliers and ice cream
An Ankara-based defense analyst pointed to Ukraine, Belarus, Pakistan, South Korea and China as alternative sources for ammunition. “Especially China would volunteer to sell almost every weapons system,” he said.

It also wouldn’t be difficult to imagine Russia filling the void left by a lack of high-tech Western systems. After the U.S. suspended Turkey’s partnership in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program in retaliation for Turkey’s $2.5 billion purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, Ankara turned to Moscow for a stopgap solution to bolster its fighter fleet.

Erdogan visited the MAKS air show in Russia this year with President Vladimir Putin. No deal was announced, but the two leaders ate ice cream together and Erdogan took a photo with Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter.


Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan eat ice cream as they visit the MAKS air show in Russia on Aug. 27, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images)

“Possibly, they [the Turkish government] will make a choice in favor of our combat aviation, nothing can be ruled out,” Russia’s deputy premier, Yuri Borisov, said Oct. 20.

Meanwhile Turkey is trying to design and develop its first indigenous fighter jet. But officials privately admit the country will likely miss its original deadline of 2023 to fly the planned aircraft.

Moscow’s courting of Ankara is likely to increase following the latter’s spat with Washington over the fate of the Kurds in northern Syria, and few things are more attractive to the Kremlin right now than spoiling America’s relations with its NATO allies, according to Russian political analyst Vladimir Frolov.

“It makes sense to sell Erdogan just about anything he wants, so long as it further deepens the strains between Turkey and U.S. and NATO,” Frolov said, noting that nuclear weapons are off the table.

But recent developments in Syria add an element of complication to a potential Turkish shopping spree through Russia’s export catalog. The latest catalyst driving Russia’s opportunity — Turkey’s advance into northern Syria — is at odds with Russia’s own objectives, namely the restoration of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s control over the country.

Erdogan flew to the Russian resort town of Sochi on Oct. 22 to meet with Putin and discuss developments in Syria. Ahead of the meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov predicted “long and complicated” discussions, and he reiterated Russia’s position that only Russian troops — at Assad’s invitation — have any business operating within Syrian borders. However, Peskov said Russia could do nothing to prevent Turkish troops from entering and operating in Syria.


Turkey's president has expressed interest in buying the Russian Su-57 jet. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Western arms embargoes on Ankara is nothing new. In May 2018, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a $717 billion annual defense policy bill that included a measure to temporarily halt weapons sales to Turkey.

In addition, Turkish officials have been unsuccessfully negotiating with German manufacturers to acquire engine and transmission system for the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous main battle tank in the making. Berlin has cited political concerns for its reluctance to permit any technology transfer for the Altay.

A German diplomat told Defense News that Turkey’s operation in Syria hurts Turkey’s negotations for Altay technology. "We simply don’t want German technology used in any cross-border operation targeting Kurds,” the official said.

The German embargo jeopardizes Turkey’s planned program to upgrade scores of German-made Leopard II battle tanks. The Turkish Army has in its inventory 720 Leopard I and Leopard II tanks. About 200 of them have been upgraded.

Joe Gould and Leo Shane III in Washington contributed to this report.


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Canada suspends exports of military drone technology to Turkey

Foreign affairs minister says move is in response to reports about Canadian drone tech in combat
Oct 06, 2020


People look at destroyed buildings in a residential area in Ganja, Azerbaijan, near the border with Armenia, after shelling by Armenian forces that killed two people and wounded several other, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (Associated Press)


TB2 Bayraktar combat drone

The federal government is suspending the export of sophisticated Canadian drone technology to Turkey while Ottawa investigates claims that it is being used by the Azerbaijani military against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Monday.

Champagne was responding to calls by Canada's Armenian community and the disarmament group Ploughshares International to stop the export of Canadian drone optics and laser targeting systems to Turkey following reports that Ankara has deployed dozens of unmanned aircraft in combat against Armenian forces in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Kelsey Gallagher, an expert with Project Ploughshares who has studied exports of Canadian drone technology to Turkey, said these sensors are used by Turkish TB2 Bayraktar combat drones, allowing them to see what's happening on the ground day and night, in all weather conditions.

Armenia has accused Turkey of using TB2 Bayraktar combat drones left behind in Azerbaijan following recent joint exercises to pummel Armenian forces from the air, collect intelligence and direct artillery and missile fire at both military positions and civilian infrastructure.

Armenia also has accused Turkey of redeploying fighters from Syria to support Azerbaijani forces. Turkey has denied sending people or arms to the conflict.

Champagne's department to 'assess the situation'

"Over the last several days, certain allegations have been made regarding Canadian technology being used in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh," Champagne said in a statement, adding that he directed officials at Global Affairs Canada to investigate those claims as soon as they were made.

"In line with Canada's robust export control regime and due to the ongoing hostilities, I have suspended the relevant export permits to Turkey, so as to allow time to further assess the situation."

Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since it declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991 during the breakup of the Soviet Union.


An unexploded projectile of a multiple rocket launcher stuck in a street after shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict in Stepanakert, self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. (David Ghahramanyan via AP)

Fierce fighting along the entire Line of Contact in Nagorno-Karabakh raged for the ninth consecutive day on Monday, with Armenian authorities reporting heavy bombardment of the region's capital Stepanakert and several other towns. The Armenians reported being hit by cluster bombs that are prohibited by the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, in turn, accused Armenian forces of shelling the towns of Tartar, Barda and Beylagan. Azerbaijan's second-largest city Ganja, located about 100 kilometres north of Nagorno-Karabakh, was also "under fire," officials said.

"Canada continues to be concerned by the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting in shelling of communities and civilian casualties," Champagne said.

"We call for measures to be taken immediately to stabilize the situation on the ground and reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict."

Speaking at a press conference this morning in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he is sending Champagne to Europe "to discuss with our allies the developments in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh."

Armenia's embassy in Ottawa welcomed Champagne's announcement.

"This acknowledges Turkey's direct involvement in the aggression against the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) perpetrated by Azerbaijan," Armenia's ambassador in Canada, Anahit Harutyunyan, said in a statement, referring to the Armenian name of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Only through joint efforts can the international community stop Turkish-supported Azerbaijani aggression, backed by foreign mercenaries, against the vulnerable Armenian population."

Armenian-Canadians want Trudeau to push for ceasefire

Canadian-Armenian community organizations that had lobbied hard to stop military exports to Turkey also welcomed the announcement.

Hagop Arslanian, deputy chairman of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) in Canada — one of the largest Armenian community organizations — said the group is "satisfied" with Ottawa's announcement.

"Let it be clear that there is no military resolution to this conflict," Arslanian said.

The Armenian community also wants Trudeau to take on a more active diplomatic role by calling his counterparts in Turkey and Azerbaijan to demand an immediate ceasefire, he added.

"Equally, we want him to call [Armenian] Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and communicate his support," Arslanian said.

The international community doubled up on its efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday.

In a joint statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov and Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's foreign affairs minister, condemned "in the strongest terms the unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence in and outside of the Nagorno-Karabakh zone."

The Azerbaijani embassy did not respond to Radio Canada International's request for comment in time for publication.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Tuesday accusing Canada of taking "a double-standard approach."

"There's no explanation for why Canada would block the export of defence materials to a NATO ally," the statement said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on Monday that Turkey will stand with its ally Azerbaijan until it reaches "victory." He also claimed that it was the international community's silence in the face of what he called past Armenian aggression that encouraged it to attack Azerbaijani territory.

"In truth, lending support to Azerbaijan's struggle to liberate territories that have been occupied is the duty of every honourable nation. It is not possible for the world to reach lasting peace and calm without getting rid of bandit states and their bandit leaders," Erdogan said in an address to the nation following a cabinet meeting.

Earlier, Armenia's Pashinyan said "a cease-fire can be established only if Turkey is removed from the South Caucasus."


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Turkish, Ukrainian companies team up for Mi-8 helicopter upgrades

Nov 29


A Russian-made Mi-8 multirole helicopter stands in a hangar at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore, India, on Oct. 3, 2013. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s largest defense company has signed a deal with two Ukrainian businesses to share upgrade work for Ukrainian-made Mi-8 helicopters.
Military electronics specialist Aselsan will work with Ukraine’s Motor Sich and Ukroboronprom to perform electro-optical and missile upgrades on the Mi-8s. The deal was signed during Saha Expo, a defense and aerospace event held in Istanbul from Nov. 10 to 13.

Saha Istanbul is Turkey’s largest business cluster, with 645 members in the defense and aerospace sectors.

Under the plan, Aselsan will outfit the Mi-8s with either its Common Aperture Targeting System or its F-500C electro-optical system, enabling the aircraft to have laser targeting capabilities. It will also install either L-UMTAS or Cirit missile systems on the helicopters.

“The deal will involve all Mi-8s in the inventory of several militaries,” an Aselsan official said.

In 2018, the Ukrainian Air Force inducted two refurbished Mi-8 helicopters — Mi-8MTPB and Mi-8MTPI — back into service. The aircraft have large, phased array antennas fitted to the outside of both sides of the main cabin, as well as additional antennas and aerials on the tail and elsewhere.

Mi-8MTPI has the ability to detect and determine the general location and type of hostile emitters, giving it a limited capacity to conduct intelligence gathering missions on enemy defenses.

This is the second helicopter modernization effort bringing together Turkish and Ukrainian companies. In August, Turkish Aeronautical Association and Ukraine’s Ukrspecexport formed a partnership to provide repair and maintenance services for up to 1,500 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters. As part of the contract, the partners will initially provide depot-level maintenance and repair services for the 18 Mi-17 helicopters currently in use by Turkey’s Gendarmerie force.

Under a preliminary contract, the association had serviced Mi-17s at its maintenance base in the Turkish province of Isparta, although it’s unclear how many helicopters were involved.

For work on Turkish helos and potentially foreign platforms, a new maintenance and repair facility will be established in the Turkish capital Ankara. Spare parts and engine tests will be carried out in Ukraine by Motor Sich.

The partnership expects the most immediate work performed under the Turkish-Ukrainian deal could come from Libya, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.