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Turkey confirms intention to both import and develop long-range SAMs

The head of the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) Dr. İsmail Demir reiterated SSM’s intention to develop a long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, even amid the Turkish armed force’s effort to procure an off-the-shelf from abroad.

Speaking to the Daily Sabah, Dr. Demir reiterated SSM’s support to the homegrown SAM program, which is being undertaken by Aselsan and Roketsan. “Actually our road map is very clear. When we canceled the tender last year, we announced that the project [T-LORAMIDS] was continuing. Thus, we are still working to produce the long-range missile system locally.”

Dr. Demir added that an off-the-shelf system may be procured, especially if the selling vendor is willing to transfer valuable technology intellectual property and expertise. Turkey’s homegrown long-range SAM is expected to come to fruition in “five to seven years.”

Notes & Comments:

Turkey was linked to a possible Aster-30 SAMP/T purchase from Eurosam, a consortium jointly-owned by MBDA France, MBDA Italy, and Thales Group, in September.

Although Roketsan is on track to developing short-range and medium-range SAM systems in the form of the Hisar-A and Hisar-O, respectively, Ankara’s long-range SAM program has been tied to an off-the-shelf purchase, one tied with transfer-of-technology and expertise.

The recent warming in ties between Moscow and Ankara has prompted commentary that the Russian defence industry could be a factor in Turkey’s long-range SAM initiatives, but as was the case in the failed deal with China, NATO compatibility (and security concerns) will likely keep the Turkish program in the orbit of Western vendors.

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