Technology, defense developments in Türkiye in 2022

Türkiye saw many developments in the technology and defense fields in 2022 amid global developments from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic to the Russia-Ukraine war.

While the world has been experiencing the recovery process from the pandemic, China's ongoing strong measures, which recently eased, hit many sectors, especially chip production.

In this period, Türkiye's technology and defense companies took significant steps, including significant cooperation agreements, cutting-edge products and export deals.

Tech, defense exports

Türkiye is expected to close 2022 with defense exports of $4 billion, the president said recently while the high and medium-high tech products' share was 36% in overall exports of $209.4 billion during the January to October period.

This year, defense and technology firms exported high-tech products, such as the Turkish Aerospace's (TAI) helicopter, named Atak, export to the Philippines in March.

Baykar, a famous Turkish drone manufacturer, announced earlier this year that the number of countries where its Bayraktar TB2 drone is being exported has risen to 24.

The firm has the capacity to produce 200 Bayraktar TB2 annually but it plans to raise the capacity to 500 in 2023.

Baykar granted a Bayraktar TB2 to Ukraine after learning of Lithuania's fundraising campaign to buy a drone for its embattled neighbor in June.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's report showed two Turkish firms were among the top 100 defense firms, Aselsan and TAI, raking in sales of $2.16 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively, in 2021.

The size of Turkiye's gaming sector grew to $1.2 billion in 2021, according to research conducted.

New products

Türkiye has been designing and producing cutting-edge technologies in recent years, especially in aviation.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in October that Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have become a "game changer" in modern wars.

Roketsan, a leading Turkish missile producer, introduced a new cruise missile, Cakir, which will make its first launch in the coming period.

With a range of more than 150 kilometers (93 miles), the cruise missile will be launchable from fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, assault drones, tactical land vehicles and naval platforms.

Turkish defense company Armelsan exhibited its domestic mine-hunting sonar, the Nusrat-1915, in April.

The sonar can detect and classify moored as well as ground mines.

Türkiye's first multi-caliber sniper rifle, produced by the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation under the name KN-12, entered the Turkish Armed Forces' inventory in June.

The country's first indigenous turbofan engine, which is also the most powerful engine produced by the country, was exhibited at technology events during the year.

The engine will be launched by the beginning of 2023.

As one of the most important developments, Baykar introduced its unmanned fighter jet, Bayraktar Kizilelma, or Red Apple.

The aircraft, which made its maiden flight in December, has low detectability and hypersonic speed.

Baykar also tested another unmanned aerial vehicle, the Bayraktar Akinci B, in March.

While the previous model, Akinci A, has 900 horsepower (hp), the new model has 1,500 hp via two 750 hp engines.

Akinci B is the most powerful and combat-capable armed UAV in its class in the world, according to the company.

Another important development was in Togg, which is the country's first electric car brand.

Starting the project in 2018, Togg began the mass production phase last October.

Togg will make its debut in the first quarter of 2023 with the SUV, its first smart device in the C segment, after the completion of homologation tests.

A Turkish-made armed unmanned surface vehicle (USV) completed its first marine tests in September.

Under development by Turkish defense firms Havelsan and Yonca-Onuk, the Sancar USV will meet many of the military's requirements, including against foes that are not easily recognizable and capable of unconventional operations.

Another USV, Marlin, which is developed and produced indigenously in Türkiye, demonstrated its abilities at a NATO exercise in southwestern Portugal in September.

Developed by Turkish defense giant Aselsan and the Sefine Shipyard in northwestern Yalova province under the coordination of Turkish Defense Industries' Presidency, the vehicle took part in a drill with around 100 other unmanned aviation and marine vehicles.

Studies, events, deals

The country has been also conducting scientific research and events.

Türkiye has taken its first steps into outer space with a crewed mission by trying to hunt the best astronaut candidates.

The Turkish Space Agency and US-based space firm Axiom have also signed an agreement to send the first Turkish manned mission to space in September.

On the earth side, a Turkish research team with 20 members visited Antarctica to conduct research as part of the 6th Antarctic expedition.

In 46 days starting in February, the team has completed 14 different projects.

The country's largest technology and aviation event Teknofest was organized in the Black Sea province of Samsun in August.

Attracting more than 900,000 visitors, the event featured technology competitions in more than 40 categories, including semiconductors, UAVs, satellites, rockets, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Teknofest also organized a foreign event in Azarbaijan for the first time.

Teknofest Azerbaijan was kicked off in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku in May and hosted 300,000 visitors in four days.

International Space Convention (ISC) 2022, one of the world’s leading space events, was held in the Marmara province of Bursa in September.

Several topics were discussed, including autonomy in space, commercialization of space and using space for international security challenges.

Organized by the Istanbul Defense and Aerospace Cluster Association (SAHA), a major Turkish defense event, SAHA Expo, was organized in Istanbul in October.

It exhibited cutting-edge defense products from Türkiye and foreign countries, and hosted top officials from governments and armies from dozens of countries.

In many events, Turkish firms or institutions have signed important agreements.

After pioneering Turkiye's first unmanned helicopter, the Alpin, Titra Teknoloji strengthened its presence in civil aviation and UAV by forging a strategic cooperation agreement with Cicare, one of the world's leading helicopter companies in May.

In another agreement, Turkiye and the United Arab Emirates signed two Memorandums of Understanding in the defense sector in May.

Aviation and navigation company, Keyvan Havacilik, signed an agreement with US-based avionic producer General Electric (GE) Aerospace.

The Turkish firm will provide its aviation and navigation database to airlines and operators which use GE Aerospace's systems.

2023 plans

Türkiye will see important milestones in defense production on the 100th anniversary of the Republic.

The National Combat Aircraft (MMU), which is the most important technology project in the country and is carried out by TAI, will leave the hangar March 18 by starting the engine.

The MMU will replace F-16 jets which are planned to be phased out by the 2030s.

It will make its maiden flight in 2025 and start duty in 2028.

Hurjet, a jet trainer and light attack aircraft, will also make its maiden flight March 18;

It will perform flight tests with four prototypes and will reach the level of being able to perform its first duty in 2025.

Another important development will be the maiden flight of the heavy-class attack helicopter Atak-2.

TAI will make the first delivery of the multipurpose helicopter Gokbey which has a high payload capacity.

TCG Anadolu, which will be Türkiye's largest warship, is also preparing to join the inventory.

Source: AA

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