ASELSAN opens up to the world: New target is NATO tenders and Eastern Europe

ASELSAN General Manager Ahmet Akyol said, “This year, we turned to NATO with the coordination of our Presidency of Defense Industries. We are entering tenders in NATO, which has the highest standards in the world.”

Akyol told the AA correspondent in Antalya, where he was for the “Global Strategies Conference in the Defense and Aviation Industry” held on February 16-18, that they are trying to take the exports one step higher in the defense industry in line with the interests of the Republic of Turkiye.

Stating that ASELSAN is a company that develops electronic systems and systems that add intelligence to all platform manufacturers, Akyol noted that they develop payloads, electronic systems and state-of-the-art products used in submarines, ships, land vehicles, UAVs, airplanes, helicopters and satellites.

Pointing out that by developing these systems, they paved the way for the defense industry sector to export with high added value, Akyol said, “There are also products that we directly supply and deliver to the end user. We have offices, companies or partnerships in 14 countries. Our factories and design offices operate in many places, from South America to South Africa, from the Far East to the Balkans, from the Middle East to the Turkish republics. We have become a global company. We are the top company representing Turkiye in the league where important defense industry companies in the world are listed.”

“The number of countries we export to is 86”

Akyol noted that they signed a new contract worth $601 million in 2023 and stated that this is the highest figure ASELSAN has reached to date.

Stating that they had the opportunity to export to four new countries, Akyol said, “Thus, the number of countries we have exported to since the day we were founded has reached 86.”

Akyol noted that they determined their 2024 strategy as making the most assertive product in its field, being at least in the top 3 in its segment in the world, growing export-oriented and implementing an approach that makes a difference in the world by creating new concepts.

Pointing out that they made the ASELFLIR 500 camera against the cameras that were not supplied due to the embargo placed on Turkiye, and that it is a better camera than all its equivalents in the world, Akyol said, “We continue to grow and develop with an export focus. We will continue to display flags all over the world in 2024. 2024 will be a year full of success for both the defense industry sector and ASELSAN.”

“We focused on taking more part in all international structures”

Explaining that they have established a special unit for NATO tenders within ASELSAN, Akyol said, “We work with all units of NATO. This year, we turned to NATO with the coordination of our Presidency of Defense Industries. We are entering tenders in NATO, which has the highest standards in the world. Getting into a position to compete with the world’s leading companies in NATO standards was a process, and Turkiye succeeded in this process. This shows the level we have reached. We are focused on taking more part in all international structures, not only NATO, but also OCCAR and the UN.”

Underlining that there was an increase in military expenditures, especially in Eastern Europe, with the Ukraine-Russia war, Akyol said:

“I just came from Romania. From Hungary to Poland and Estonia, there is more focus on the defense industry than in the past. I see Eastern Europe as a new area within our traditional export markets in the coming period. As ASELSAN, we activated our new unit and office for the Balkans and Poland. I would like to say that Eastern Europe has also been added to traditional markets, as well as African countries that have just started to enter. We won the tank modernization tender in Chile. We started to carry out this study there. We won an air defense tender in the Philippines. We have reached a level where we can operate in all parts of the world.”

“More than 60% of ASELSAN employees are engineers”

Giving information that there are 10 thousand 600 employees within ASELSAN, Akyol pointed out that more than 60% of the employees are engineers.

Stating that there are nine R&D centers, Akyol concluded his words as follows:

“We have two vocational high schools in Ankara and Konya. We recruit 10% of our employees as interns every year. This year, for the first time, we started a program where young people in the third year of universities can work part-time at ASELSAN. University 3rd and 4th year students gain working experience at ASELSAN. Our company also has international training programs that will help us gain new competencies. We established ASELSAN Academy. Our friends who are engaged in engineering activities can do master’s and doctorate degrees in this academy. We are implementing Turkiye’s most challenging projects one by one, with our employees whom we have invested in end-to-end, from high school age to doctorate degree. We strive to do more with the responsibility our country places on us.”

Source: AA / Prepared by Irem Yildiz

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