The Hurkus trainer aircraft is one of several aerial platforms built by Turkish Aerospace Industries. (TAI)
ANKARA — Turkish defense industry exports reached an all-time high in 2013 of $1.4 billion, according to industry officials.
The export contracts signed during 2013 mark a 10 percent increase from 2012, according to Latif Aral Alis, chairman of Turkey’s Defense and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association.
“Although the country’s overall exports saw a stagnant year in 2013, defense and aerospace exports reported a remarkable increase,” Alis said in a statement.
Alis said Turkey’s defense exports had seen a 43 percent increase from 2008 to 2012, during which time one-third of total production was exported. He said the sector’s 2014 objective is to reach $2 billion in exports, or a 44 percent increase over 2013.
The export boost in 2013 is attributed mainly to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which reported $537 million worth of exports, or nearly 39 percent of all defense exports.
TAI builds the T-129 Turkish attack helicopter, the indigenous trainer aircraft Hurkus and the country’s first indigenously built Anka drones.
Alis noted that the United States, the world’s top defense industry manufacturer, topped the list of export destinations for Turkish manufacturers in 2013. Other major markets were former Soviet republics in Central Asia, the European Union, gulf countries and Southeast Asia.
Top export items in 2013 were aircraft and helicopter parts, engines, armored land vehicles, speed boats, missiles, rockets, launching platforms, light weapons and electronic systems including transmitters, command-and-control systems, simulators, sensors and practical software.
Turkish defense officials often say they target $25 billion worth of exports by the year 2023, the Turkish republic’s centennial, although experts view this goal cautiously. ■