Speaking to Turkey’s state-owned news agency Anadolu Agency (AA), the Deputy General Director of Turkish defence contractor Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret AŞ (STM), Murat Çift, said that STM’s negotiations with prospective overseas MILGEM customers are in the advanced stages.
The AA reports that Saudi Arabia is interested in five ships while Pakistan is negotiating for four.
In November, Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain told AA that “the process was complete and construction of the ship will start in near future”, adding “Technical and financial proposal will be going to … Pakistan on [November 27]. So, this project is almost complete.”
As per the MoDP, the construction of the ships will be evenly split between Turkey and Pakistan, with the Sindh-based Karachi Shipyards & Engineering Works (KSEW) handling Pakistan’s workshare.
Closing the MILGEM sale to Pakistan would raise the overall value of STM’s business activities in Pakistan to approximately $1.5 billion U.S. STM is managing the Ormara hydrographic/oceanographic and harbour design program, the mid-life-upgrade of Pakistan’s three Agosta 90B submarines and the construction of the 17,000-ton Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker at KSEW.
Saudi Arabia had been slotted as a prospective MILGEM buyer since at least May, with Turkish print news outlets reporting that Riyadh was interested in procuring five ships. However, news reports had claimed that Saudi Arabia cancelled the deal. Turkey’s Undersecretary of Defence Industries (SSM) Dr. İsmail Demir countered the reports, stating that talks between Riyadh and Ankara were still continuing.
STM is also pitching the MILGEM-based CF3500 frigate to Colombia for the Colombian Navy’s Plataforma Estratégica de Superficie (PES) next-generation frigate requirement. Çift told AA that Bogota will disclose a shortlist of three competing bids, STM expects to be on that shortlist.
STM is a state-owned defence contractor formed by the Defence Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) in 1991 to support the activities of the Turkish Armed Forces and the SSM. The SSM Dr. İsmail Demir serves as the Chairman of STM’s Executive Board.