ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s largest defense company, military electronics specialist Aselsan, has launched SADEC, a Saudi joint venture that company officials believe will be a gateway to the Saudi market.
“We have a long-term view of Saudi Arabia, not solely as a market to sell products but primarily as a partner to develop systems,” a senior Aselsan official said. “The joint venture will help us achieve our targets in Saudi, Gulf and other third country markets.”
SADEC, or Saudi Defence Electronics Company, is a joint venture between Aselsan and Saudi Arabia’s Taqnia.
It will primarily design, develop and produce electronic jammers, radars, electronic warfare suites, Aselsan’s common aperture targeting system, electro-optical instruments, infrared receivers and subsystems for multimission intelligence aircraft.
State-controlled Aselsan’s Saudi venture comes at a time when the Saudi kingdom prepares to boost its local industry with a target to produce indigenous solutions that meet half of the country’s requirements by 2030.
Industry sources are confident several companies will vie for partnerships in indigenous Saudi programs.
“Some of [the] countries with relatively easy access to the future Saudi market of developing national systems are Turkey and Ukraine,” a Gulf security expert said.
Aselsan’s Saudi enterprise came a year after the company signed a framework agreement for the joint venture. The Turkish and Saudi partners will each hold a 50 percent stake in the new company.
The joint venture will see a factory built in Saudi Arabia on the idea to create “a most advanced technological base.”
In September 2013, Turkey and Saudi Arabia ratified a defense industry cooperation agreement. The agreement aims to increase cooperation in the defense industry by improving the industry capabilities of both countries through more effective collaboration on the development, production and procurement of goods and services in the defense industry and the related technical and logistical support fields.
The agreement is for five years and can be extended automatically for successive one-year periods.
In 2012, the Turkish parliament also approved a deal with Saudi Arabia regarding cooperation in training military personnel.
Industry experts in Ankara say defense industry deals between Turkey and Saudi Arabia could facilitate Turkey’s future exports of naval vessels, assault boats, armored vehicles and UAVs to Saudi Arabia.
The Arab kingdom has also shown an interest in the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous new-generation battle tank now in the serial production stage.
Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.