Turkey’s defense industry aims to generate more than $4 billion in export revenues in 2022, the head of the Defense Industries Presidency has said, noting that the country is among the top nations in terms of developing drone technologies.
“Export revenues exceeded $3 billion [in 2021], and we aim for more than $4 billion in exports this year,” İsmail Demir said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk on March 5, adding that shipments of the defense sector have the potential to grow exponentially in 2024 and 2025.
He predicted a growing interest in Turkish defense products in the years to come, saying that the export performance of the industry is on a track to pick up fast.
Demir cited the demand for locally developed Hürkuş training planes. “We immediately started to export [Hürkuş], we are presently signing other export deals I am talking about more than one country,” he said, declining to name the countries with which such agreements have been sealed.
As far as the local defense industry’s place globally, Demir said that Turkey is among the top 10 nations in the world.
“When it comes to drones, Turkey is particularly strong in the unmanned aerial vehicle as well as armed unmanned aerial vehicle technologies. Turkey ranks among the top three countries in the world in the armed drones,” he said, adding that the country is also strong in guidance and missile systems.
Work is underway to develop the country’s first indigenous combat aircraft and some 4,000 people are working on this project, according to Demir.
He reiterated that the local combat aircraft is expected to clear hangar in 2023 and make its maiden flight in 2025.
Deliveries of locally developed Göktürk helicopters will begin this year with more deliveries to follow, Demir said.
Exports by the Turkish defense industry stood at only $248 million back in 2002, surpassing the $1 billion mark in 2011 for the first time.
Exports grew in the following years, reaching $3.07 billion in 2019. Despite the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, shipments amounted to $2.3 billion in 2020. Last year, the defense industry generated $3.22 billion in export revenues.