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ANKARA — Turkey’s defense industry exports in the seven months ending in July reached $781 million, an all-time high for the period, and may be on course to set a record for the year, according to industry officials.
The export contracts signed during the first seven months of the year mark a 9 percent increase from the same period in 2012, according to Latif Aral Alis, chairman of Turkey’s Defense and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association.
He said aircraft and helicopter parts accounted for most of this year’s exports. Top buyers of Turkish-made equipment were the US and former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Other major export items were armored vehicles, vessels and fast boats, missiles, rockets and launch platforms, light weapons and ammunition, electronic systems (radio, command-and-control systems, simulators, sensors and application software), logistics support products (kitchen, hospital, clothing materials), and engineering and technology transfer services, Alis said.
The Turkish industry is aiming for a record high $1.5 billion in exports for the year.
“The export performance in the first seven months of the year was very promising for achieving the annual target,” Alis said.
Another promising figure was Turkey’s cumulative research and development spending, which has reached $772 million this year, also a record.
“This is due to investments in high-value and intensive know-how programs,” Alis said.
The Turkish defense industry is aiming for $4 billion in production and $2 billion in exports in 2016. As various national made-in-Turkey programs reach serial production stage after 2016, Turkey will reach for an ambitious defense and aerospace export target of $25 billion in 2023, according to Alis.