Turkey as a member of NATO and due to its geographic location has been allocated the highest funds from the budget to defence industry for many years. Today the total turnover of defence and aerospace industry is around USD 4,5 – 5,0 billion. In five years plan it is targeted that the total turnover will increase up to USD 8,0 billion and export volume will increase up to USD 2,0 billion in defence and aerospace industry. The 2023 vision of the government is to be ranked in first ten countries in defence industry and to manufacture all ground vehicles, marine vessels and unmanned aerial vehicles domestically.
In consideration of all aforementioned plans and targets, Turkey has intended to change supply policies and focused on domestic production policies in providing the military requirements.
After Law No:3238 entered into force and ratified in 1985, the Turkish defense industry has been introduced to a regulatory body called “Undersecretariat of Defense Industries” (“SSM”) that is responsible for setting and implementing the defence policies.
In elapsed time the SSM committees and funds has been tasked and allocated for effective administration, financing and research & development of defense related products.
As a part of the SSM 2007-2011 Strategic Plan 50% domestic supply for Turkish Armed Forces was targeted which was achieved as 54% in 2011. In parallel to the accomplishing the objectives the projects such of ATAK, HÜRKUŞ, MİLGEM have been introduced by the government.
The 2012-2016 Strategic Plan of SSM relies on four strategic principles as follows:
i) Sustainability of industry
ii) Maturity in Programme Management
iii) Technologic Competence
iv) Value creating and respected employees
Today, SSM has initiated six major R&D supporting projects and supports technology based projects and activities generated by the collaboration of industry-university- research institutions.
In projection of the SSM; R&D is discussed as the supply of the domestic development processes in parallel to support basic research, applied research and experimental development works. R & D projects are carried out under the main system projects (simultaneously) or previously. This is intended to minimize the external dependence in defence systems in the course of time.
The R&D supports offered in Turkish defence industry are as follows;
i) R&D Supports of SSM
ii) Supports of The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey
iii) European Union Framework Programmes
iv) Other R&D Supports and Incentives
v) Ministry of Defence Unit of R&D and Technology
The persons whom are intended to be supported for their R&D projects are recommended to follow up the website of the SSM and shall comply to the security rules and obligations prescribed in Law on Control of the Private Industrial Enterprises Producing War Weapons, Equipment, Vehicles and Ammunitions and Explosives (Law No: 5201) and Defence Industry Security Law, (Law No:5202) when they are engaged.
On the other hand, the companies’ R&D initiatives are quietly supported thru the Law on Technology Development Zones (Law No: 4691) in which the aim of the law has been prescribed as to develop technological knowledge, ensure innovation in the product and production methods, improve product quality or standard, increase efficiency, decrease production cost, commercialize technological knowledge, support the technology intensive production and entrepreneurship, ensure compatibility of small and medium scale enterprises with new and advanced technologies, create investment opportunities in technology-intensive areas taking into consideration the decisions by the Scientific and Technological Research Council, create employment opportunities to the researchers and qualified people, assist to technology transfer and the ensure technological infrastructure to speed up the introduction of foreign capital in the country which will provide high/advanced technology in the country, in an attempt to developing the national industry into internationally competitive and export-oriented structure by ensuring the coordination of the universities, research institutions and organizations and production sectors.