By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey's indigenous battle tank Altay will be used by the nation’s armed forces on the ground 24 months later, the head of the producer company BMC said on Thursday.
Altay tank and all sub-products -- including engine -- will also become completely indigenous within 48 months, Ethem Sancak told the 10th Istanbul Finance Summit (IFS'19).
BMC produces different types of military vehicles, including tanks and armored cars, as well as commercial cars -- busses and trucks.
Sancak said the rate for indigenous products was around 20% in the Turkish defense industries before 2000s, while it reached 65% currently.
Also addressing Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, Sancak said Turkey can fly its warplanes with its defense systems.
"Turkey has projects worth €70 billion (some $77 billion) in defense industries such as aircraft carrier, national battle plane, space studies, and electronic battle methods," he underlined.
He added that Turkey will also start to produce nuclear inter-continental ballistic missiles within 5-6 years.
"Defense industry is a value-added sector. It also improves other sectors such as software, information technologies and automotive," he highlighted.
- Turkey's defense expenditures reach $18.2 billion
Ilhami Keles, the general secretary of an umbrella organization for defense industry Saha Istanbul, said the global defense expenditures reached nearly $2 trillion.
The U.S. ranked first with $654 billion expenses, while China and Saudi Arabia followed it with $237 billion and $67 billion, respectively, he said.
Turkey came 15th with $18.2 billion defense expenditure, he added.
Meanwhile, the indigenousness rate of Turkish defense industries, of which exports reached $2.12 billion last year, is 68%, Keles said.
The sector's exports rose 24% in the first nine months of 2019 on an annual basis, he stated.
Mehmet Fatih Guclu, the deputy financial general manager of Turkey's defense giant Aselsan, said Turkish exports' value per kilogram is $1.3, while the figure is $46 in the defense sector and $800 in Aselsan's exports.
Aselsan is active in military and civil telecommunications, radar, electronic warfare, defense, weapons, command control and navigation systems.