TAI is the second largest F-16 manufacturer after Lockheed Martin. It has been, and still is, one of the most experienced F-16 upgrade companies. As of May 2012, in collaboration with Peace Drive II program, TAI is working on new production to modernize the 66 F-16s of the Turkish Air Force. This is a record in the history of TAI and will be done at a pace that will more or less remain the same until 2014. Even though this has created a series of challenges and required considerable investments both staff- and facility-wise, thanks to our F-16 heritage, none of these programs have missed their respective delivery schedules. TAI’s diversified products and capability range grant a unique and unmatched position for the company in the international market. Fixed and rotary-wing platforms, as well as unmanned systems and modernization suites, are a challenging field. The ANKA MALE Class UAV System, T129 Attack/Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter, and C130 Avionics Modernization Suite are three major products that have technical superiority and a commercial advantage in the international market. Worldwide recognition of and demand for these products is encouraging for TAI’s international market and development activities.
Roketsan was founded on June 14, 1988 through a Turkish Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decision with the intention of meeting the country’s rocket and missile needs for domestic resources. The company is composed of leading Turkish government and private shareholders and currently has around 1,500 employees at its modern facilities. Roketsan has been listed among Turkey’s top 500 industrial enterprises since 2007 and is one of Turkey’s top 1,000 exporters. Its indigenous design and state-of-the-art technology are shaping the sector thanks to its experienced, well-qualified, and dynamic workforce. In addition, Roketsan has been the reliable partner of national and international projects, working intensively with 400 domestic and 200 overseas companies and cooperating with 250 domestic and 50 overseas subcontractors. With its “continuous improvement” and “do it right the first time” principles, Roketsan is well on its way to becoming one of the top 50 rocket and missile organizations in the world. During the Stinger European Common Production Program, Roketsan undertook responsibility for the propulsion system. In such a program, engineering development groups are composed, and the technology that will be used is transferred and assimilated.
After a one-year process, we have successfully established the Turkish Aircraft Company as an A.Ş. with the Turkish Aeronautical Association (TAA), which has a 51% share. By the end of 2012, we hope to launch production. This is the first company of its kind in Turkey. The TAA was originally established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1925 with the aim of building an indigenous aircraft. Today, we own 49% of the company. One of our most well-known partners is from the Dornier family, which founded a German aircraft company of the same name in 1922. Dornier built hundreds of passenger aircraft, as well as produced amphibian aircraft, such as pontoon planes. Claude Dornier was the founder of the company, and he is the grandfather of Irene Dornier, one of our partners. The Turkish Aircraft Company is the combination of both Turkish and German interest and investment. I am very happy to have Irene Dornier as a partner in the company; the name alone means a lot. There are approximately 250 small airplanes operating in Turkey. In contrast, Italy is a paradise for sports planes, with over 4,500 small aircraft registered, and huge potential for more. In the Munich area, there are at least 700 sports aircraft for a population of 2 million people. We see huge potential to train ultra-light pilots and grant private pilot licenses. The domestic market has very good potential in Turkey.
MUSTAFA KEMAL ERÇELİK
Alp Aviation is Turkey’s third largest aerospace exporter, and it has a 20% market share of all Turkish aerospace exports worldwide. We hope to increase these figures in the coming years. We started off as the Alpera Group of companies, established in 1997-1998. We began in a number of industries, but not aerospace. However, the company anticipated that aerospace would be a growing market, and there were no private companies in the sector. We started at the right time and partnered with the right company through a joint venture with Sikorsky. From the start, we formulated a plan to create a world-class company that could enter into niche areas such as flight safety components and engine rotating parts. We did not limit our company to Sikorsky but opened it up to international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in major civilian and military programs, such as the Black Hawk program for the US government, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and the F-135 engine program for the F-35, along with a number of commercial programs including the Boeing 787. We invested in the right product groups, the right technology, and the right people, which has been very helpful. The company distributed few dividends, and instead reinvested a large part of the profits generated.
Infrastructure in the US is far more developed than this region, but that’s an opportunity. If we take the mobile phone industry as an example, we didn’t have the infrastructure opportunities that the operators needed in the beginning. Nokia and Ericsson were present, but there was no Turkcell or Vodafone. Similarly, in our type of private aviation, for now we don’t have the base stations that we need to set that infrastructure up, but if the market is there, and we have a product to support that market, then the infrastructure will follow, just like it did in the mobile phone sector. This is also what happened with the automobile. When Ford first produced the Model T, there were no roads to support it, but the product led to the creation of a road network. If you’re the owner of a private jet and say “please build me an airport,” the authorities will naturally say no. But if you have thousands of people with this request for a new mode of transport, then it becomes a necessity for the government, and it becomes something it would want to do—it would solve a lot of the problems airports have with congestion. We’ve been growing exponentially. We have around a dozen aircraft in the Turkish region alone. We just sold five aircraft to Dubai. I expect that by the end of 2012, which is when we start delivery of the Eclipse 550s, we should have around 60-70 aircraft in this region.
© The Business Year