Ümit BAYRAKTAR / firstname.lastname@example.org
The opening ceremony of both the Satellite Launch, Space Systems and Advanced Technologies Research Centre and the RDX / HMX Production Facility of Roketsan was held on 30 August, with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. During the ceremony, a video of the ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missile hitting its target and another one showing for the first time the launch of the Laser Guided 230 mm Missile System (TRLG-230) were watched with great interest.
The ceremony was attended also by Vice President Fuat Oktay; Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence; Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology; General Yaşar Güler, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces; General Ümit Dündar, Commander of the Turkish Land Forces; Admiral Adnan Özbal, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces; General Hasan Küçükakyüz, Commander of the Turkish Air Force; and Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, along with many representatives and officials from the public and private sectors.
At the beginning of his speech at the event, President Erdoğan congratulated the Roketsan employees, guests and the Turkish Nation on the occasion of 30 August Victory Day. He expressed his great pleasure at being able to celebrate the 98th anniversary of the Great Victory at such a meaningful event, demonstrating the level attained by the Turkish defence and aerospace sector. President Erdoğan said that since its establishment in 1988, Roketsan had become one of the leading supporters of Turkish soldiers through the weapons and ammunition it produces, going on to say: “Today, Roketsan produces the BORA, ATMACA, CİRİT, UMTAS, OMTAS and L-UMTAS missiles, as well as the MAM-L and MAM-C smart ammunitions, as the striking force of our UCAVs. It is also continuing its work in such air defence projects as SUNGUR, HİSAR and SİPER. Roketsan is working on heavy-class torpedoes and antisubmarine warfare rockets on one side, while at the same time equipping our ALTAY tank and Leopard 2A4 tanks with armour systems.”
ATMACA Hits its Target
Commenting on the ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missile, Turkey’s first indigenous cruise missile, President Erdogan said: “With its range of over 200 kilometres, Atmaca flies just a few meters above sea level. It cannot be detected by enemy elements’ radars. When launched upon a specific target, Atmaca can destroy its target even if it moves. With its specifications, Atmaca has made our country one of the five countries that can produce anti-ship missiles. We will add Atmaca, the apple of the eye of our military, to the Turkish Armed Forces’ inventory by the end of the year. We are also proud that many countries getting in touch with us with the intention of procuring ATMACA.”
President Erdoğan then took a break from his speech to join the other participants in watching a video of an ATMACA fired from TCG KINALIADA striking a target at sea. President Erdoğan then thanked those who had contributed to the development of the missile.
Sounding Rocket Reaches an Altitude of 130 Kilometre
President Erdoğan stated that another important step would soon be taken with the opening of the Satellite Launch, Space Systems and Advanced Technologies Research Centre. He referred to the Micro-Satellite Launching Project as one of the most critical studies to be carried out at the centre, stating that it should be completed before 2025, i.e. ahead of schedule. President Erdoğan said: “This project will enable Turkey to place micro-satellites weighing 100 kilograms or less into low-Earth orbit with an altitude of at least 400 kilometres. Turkey will have the infrastructure to launch, test and produce satellites and gain the ability to establish bases. When our indigenous satellite is launched into space, it will provide a secure flow of information to our country at times of both peace and war. Our satellite will provide instant information and coordinates, and thus make the work of our soldiers easier. Moreover, the capabilities to be derived from this centre will serve our goals in the National Space Program prepared by the Turkish Space Agency. We have completed the tests of this strategically important project with great success. Our first domestic sounding rocket, which was launched using national technologies, exceeded the 100 kilometre line, which is accepted as the edge of space, reaching an altitude of 130 kilometres. Turkey has taken its first step into the space with its nationally- developed projects. We are now in the space league with our domestic, national technologies.”
After watching a video about this rocket system with the participants, President Erdoğan announced that it had been launched using a solid propellant technology, starting from the moment a new phase will be opened in which both solid and liquid propellants will be tested: “I hereby would like to announce the good news that we are set to begin the first space trials of our domestically developed liquid-propellant rocket engine technology. We are also continuing our efforts to develop hybrid-propellant rocket engines. A high-capacity hydrogen fuel cell technology – as a clean energy resource for both space and aviation as well as transportation applications – has been developed in this centre. The global positioning system receiver needed for the production of missiles, guided ammunitions and weapon systems to support their navigation has also been produced with national means for the first time. Furthermore, we are carrying out studies into such future technologies as miniature weapons, hypersonic systems, directed energy weapons with lasers and electromagnetic technologies at this centre.” President Erdogan said that the total budget of the projects carried out at the centre exceeded ₺9 billion.
Roketsan’s New Product: TRLG-230
During the ceremony, a live connection was established to the Roketsan facilities in Elmadağ, where President Erdoğan officially opened the RDX/HMX Production Facility. “Thanks to this facility, most of our needs for explosive raw materials will be produced through national means,” said President Erdoğan, adding: “With this capability, which is of critical importance for explosives used in missiles and warheads as well as armour systems, we will significantly reduce our foreign dependency. [Regarding] our missile capabilities, we continue to work on technologies that will bring new capabilities to our security forces in the field. A laser seeker was integrated onto the TRG-230 missile system. This missile system that we call TRLG-230 has been developed in such a way that it can be launched from land and hit targets marked by UAVs and UCAVs.”
A video was then played showing a target marked by a BAYRAKTAR TB2 UCAV being hit by a TRLG-230.
“Institutions such as Roketsan are indispensable.”
Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defence described Roketsan as a “valuable institution” that carries out studies on land, sea, air defence systems, precision guided missiles and ammunition, ballistic protection systems and space projects. Minister Akar said: “Institutions such as Roketsan that produce high technologies satisfying the critical needs of our Armed Forces, provide added value to our country and have a highly competitive position in the international market, and as such are indispensable for us.”
Stating that he considered the Satellite Launch, Space Systems and Advanced Technology Research Centre to be a major step taken by Turkey towards the realization of its goals in the space sector, Akar said: “I believe that this centre will further increase the effectiveness, deterrence and prestige of the Turkish Armed Forces, and will create an infrastructure for the scientific and technological studies of the future. I also believe that it will have a direct impact on economic development. At the same time, it would not be wrong to say that the knowledge to be obtained in this centre will contribute significantly to all sectors of industry in our country, including the defence sector.”
Reduced Foreign Dependency for Critical Explosives
In his speech, Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, stated that Roketsan had been assigned the task for the establishment of the Satellite Launch, Space Systems and Advanced Technologies Research Centre by the SSB, adding: “It is obvious that the studies that will be carried out into space systems in this centre will contribute to our country’s efforts in developing technologies related to strategic weapons, ammunition and missile systems. The RDX/HMX production facility in Elmadağ that we are about to open is a good example of the cooperation between TÜBİTAK MAM and Roketsan in terms of transforming R&D studies into production. This facility will significantly reduce our foreign dependency in the field of critical explosive technologies. We are confident that Roketsan, as our national design and production centre for rocket and missile technologies that stands among the top 100 defence companies in the world, will continue its successful studies into space and advanced technologies in the upcoming period.”
Local Participation at Roketsan Increases
In his speech, Prof. Dr. Faruk Yiğit, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ROKETSAN, noted that Roketsan is increasing the rate of local participation every day, noting that the 67 percent recorded in 2019 had reached 76 percent as of August 2020: “Having an understanding of the need to contribute to the defence of Turkey, despite all kinds of threats, as its founding mission, Roketsan has adopted as its main goal the development of indigenous and innovative national defence systems that are not foreign-dependent. Roketsan has designed anti-tank missile systems, such as OMTAS and UMTAS, and has pierced armours of enemies, and has also undertaken the protection of the ALTAY Main Battle Tank by developing more durable ballistic protection against armour-piercing ammunition. The ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missile will soon be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) to satisfy an operational need of the Turkish Naval Forces in surface warfare. The ATMACA Missile that we have integrated aboard TCG KINALIADA is the pride of our nation, and will end the foreign dependency of our Navy in this field, thus making a great contribution to Turkey’s rightful struggle to protect its Blue Homeland.”
After the speeches, the participants at the ceremony had the opportunity to examine various platforms equipped with Roketsan solutions, such as the Leopard 2A4, the protection level of which has been increased, the SUNGUR Air Defence Missile System and the Pedestal Mounted Cirit (PMC) Vehicle.