Turkish Deputy Minister of National Defence Mohsen Dere made important statements in an exclusive interview with Defensehere.
In this first part of the interview, Dere spoke about Turkey's ASFAT Military Factory and Shipyard Management Inc.
Defensehere.com: Is there a new product/project/platform that ASFAT is working on right now?
Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere: Our operations continue towards supplying the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces for weapons and ammunition with the maximum percentage of domestic production and low costs as well as quality products. through the development works carried out in that regard, we are planning to carry out projects that have fundamental and advanced technologies besides having a high rate of national and domestic contribution.
ASFAT, which is a subsidiary of the Ministry of National Defence, is putting qualified workforce and the experience of more than 30 years in construction, modernization, repair, maintenance and sustenance at the disposal of the defense industry. Developing platforms and technologies that meet modern requirements and that answer to the needs of the field of operations being the purpose of the establishment of ASFAT, it continues to work towards the future not just the present by manifesting innovative approaches in many of its projects.
Defensehere.com: Will we be hearing more about ASFAT in Turkish defense exports in the coming? Can you briefly speak of the endeavors devoted by ASFAT towards export?
Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere: Our efforts towards supplying most of our national needs through our arsenals or shipyards, taking the performance of our exports to the next level, towards developing the capability and ability of our arsenals and shipyards and towards integrating advanced technologies into our economy by nationalizing are in progress.
As the Ministry of Defense, we have set a goal to contribute to national exports through our arsenals and shipyards that have significant production and modernization rates as well extraordinary maintenance capabilities. ASFAT’s establishment is the result of the said approach. The level of technology produced and its feedback to the economy is very important for us. In this regard, we are continuing our business development activities and meetings in many countries in many different fields of talent and platform. For us, export is a matter of existence. It is far beyond a mere preference; it is a must.
In regards to the National Vessel Project (MILGEM), we are planning the MILGEM Corvette, a true work of art by our engineers, to be added to the inventory of the Naval Forces of Pakistan, thanks to the agreement signed between Turkey and Pakistan on 6 September 2018. The agreement, which was an accomplishment of ASFAT, had the largest budget of a single contract as of the date it was signed. This obviously makes us proud.
We believe ASFAT has brought with it a breath of fresh air into the industry with regards to exports. Thus, with the PN MILGEM Project, which is almost worth 1 billion dollars, our subcontractors who would only be serving the TAF, now have the opportunity of recognition in international markets.
Of course, this is just a milestone. It is our duty to carry this onward. I believe every other day the number of projects will increase, and we will form an ecosystem in the fields of repair and maintenance too, alongside platform exportation. Many companies will find their spot in this ecosystem and carry our industry onward.
If I had to give another example of our current affairs, I would like to state that Mechanical Mine Clearing Equipment (MEMATT), which is produced by ASFAT, has passed all tests stipulated in international standards successfully, and has been exported to our brother country Azerbaijan.
On an important note; I would like to correct the news about ASFAT ‘being a competitor to our defense industry companies’. I would like to state that ASFAT will never compete with our companies abroad and will always be ready for cooperation and support to actualize projects.