ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's largest defense company, Aselsan, says it will take an "active role" in the future modernization work for 10,000 Mi-series helicopters worldwide.

In a statement Monday, the company referred to the ambition as its "most important next goal."

The defense electronics specialist said it has a particular interest in upgrading Mi-series helicopters in the Gulf and Central Asian, or Turkic, countries.

"For this purpose, one Mi-17 helicopter was modernized and delivered to the end user [equipped] with Aselsan indigenous products for demonstration purposes," the company said. It did not name the "end user."

Aselsan said indigenous systems it used for the Mi-17 upgrade work included multi-function displays, keyboard display units, inertial navigation systems, mission computers, digital moving map systems, internal communications systems, and very/ultra-high-frequency and high-frequency radios.

The company said that after the demo upgrade on the Mi-17 it expects to start work on other platforms in the inventory of the "country concerned." 

Aselsan's 2016 sales were at $1.2 billion. It exports to 60 different countries and has subsidiaries, affiliates and partnerships in Kazakhstan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan.

With more than 5,000 employees, Aselsan reported its backlog at the end of 2016 at $6.2 billion, including new contracts worth $2.6 billion in the same year.

Aselsan, a company listed on the Istanbul stock exchange, is owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation.

The company specializes in a wide range of products and systems for communications, electronic warfare, electro-optics, land warfare and C4I needs.

Aselsan has upgraded 500 helicopter and aircraft platforms in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces. It is presently working as avionics integrator for a weapons and avionics upgrade program for AH-1E Cobra helicopters in an unnamed Middle Eastern country.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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