The Turkish edition of MSI TDR’s cover dossier was our interview with ARMELSAN, a company with a very wide product line-up on submarine acoustics. The company offers even unmanned submarine vehicles to its clients in addition to submarine acoustic systems and this year, celebrates the 10th anniversary of its founding. The company not only contributes to the defence sector, but also to energy sector with its efforts for Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPC).
Even though the company has been relatively young, it was able to come up with a rather extensive product line-up, especially with its intense efforts in the last few years. Can Emre Bakım, President of ARMELSAN, highlights that the company was one of the top two in Türkiye by the sonar systems project numbers, and shares that they will have a product gamut competitive in the entire world with their main products like ARAS-2023 Diver Detection Sonar, MELİS-2071 Anti-Submarine Warfare Sonar, NUSRAT-1915 Mine Hunting Sonar, ORKUN-2053 Helicopter Dipping Sonar and DUFAS Low Frequency Active Sonar.
Bakım expresses the company is focusing on producing solutions that are best fits for the end user rather than copying what already exists and shares the following on the product development strategy of the company:
“Our aim has never been developing an already existing product or using Türkiye’s limited resources on repeating the same things. We always asked ourselves these questions: ‘What does Turkish Naval Forces Command need and are these needs being met? Can we provide solutions that incorporate technological developments in the world? Can we increase our domestic product rates? Can we lower costs?’ As such, we develop our product development strategies in line with the answers to these questions.
Thus, our products are chosen as they meet the needs of Turkish Naval Forces Command the best, use the latest technologies, are more cost-effective and are developed in a short time frame.”
One of the most interesting phrases in our ARMELSAN interview was “not an ego system but an ecosystem”. ARMELSAN developed its KAŞİF work class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in 6 months, a record time compared to its peers say the company officials, with its cooperative efforts with the companies in its ecosystem, which entered service in two different ships of TPC right after, and that seems to prove the statement is indeed true.
KAŞİF’s 3rd version is already in development, and Bakım comments the following on the ROV:
“KAŞİF is not only a success story with its developmental conditions and timescale, but it is also a vanguard in hybridisation. ROVs traditionally have hydraulic systems, however, KAŞİF has both hydraulic and electric systems with its electric motors. In hybrid ROV class, it is a proven product, and can be delivered in half the time compared to its competitors. As technologies develop, ROVs are expected to go fully electric in 5 years, and we are more than ready for this future.”
Bakım also highlights the fact that ARMELSAN is pushing the limits in submarine acoustics as well as ROVs:
“We are focusing on so-called ‘game-changer’ technologies that will make a difference. For example, as power electronic systems achieve higher efficiencies, continuous active sonars became a possibility, and we are working on developing one. There has been an ongoing transformation as well, from monostatic sonars to multistatic sonars, where many reflections are evaluated together instead of singletons, and we also have projects in this area.”
ARMELSAN is focusing on domestication of its products as well. KAŞİF, for example, uses 65 percent domestic products, while this number for the company’s sonars are 80-90 percent, sometimes even more.
ARMELSAN is looking forward to signing long-awaited export contracts to take the company one step further.
BİTES Advances Steadily to Its Global Goals with ASELSAN Support
Uğur Coşkun, CEO of BİTES, a name that is very familiar to the sector, was also one of our guests for Turkish edition of MSI TDR. We talked about the transformation and development of BİTES after 51 percent of its shares were acquired by ASELSAN in early 2019.
BİTES showed a significant development, both in corporate structure and its fields of activity, in the last 3 years as ASELSAN’s subsidiary. The company, with its solutions in training and simulation technologies, has stopped being a mere SME, transforming into a corporation that is focusing on technology development and productization, working to become a global brand.
Coşkun is focusing on the corporatisation aspect of this transformation, and has shared the following:
“We did take some steps, big and small, in all the fields we are active in before ASELSAN acquired us, but with our acquisition, we were able to focus on these fields, increasing our understanding and knowledge. In addition, we developed ourselves in the financial reporting, project management, engineering management and other important fields. As we are now working with ASELSAN, a top 50 defence company in the world, we had to either develop our corporate structures or strengthen our existing ones. Some of these are: legal affairs, quality control, strategic management, and internal communications. We are a 500-strong team as of right now, but our structure can easily handle a much larger team.”
In Turkish defence and aerospace sector, companies around BİTES’ size are still not widespread. Many companies in the sector exist, employing between 50 to 200 people. As for the medium size companies, with more than 200 people employed, they also exist but few and far between. BİTES fills an important gap as such, in a playing field with not many players around with defined and working strategies, corporate resource management, human resources, quality and subcontractor management and other corporate capabilities.
Coşkun has commented “I think we are in a very important place within our sector.” and shares that BİTES has the potential to lead the way in some areas:
“BİTES is a technology-oriented company, and we are focusing on this aspect. The technologies we are working on are recent technologies, mostly augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. We also have the potential to go beyond recent and lead the way in some fields. We can gain advantages through releasing right products at right time before our competitors. BİTES is also a company that follows the trends in technology, that does R&D and innovation in these fields and aims to produce products with high export potential. As such, with our analyses on market dynamics, we are investing in areas where we do not have orders yet, where there is no demand yet.”
BİTES began its journey as a SME and puts a rather high importance on using sub-contractor. Coşkun, who has experience leading a SME, comments as follows:
“We understand SMEs very well and we prepare our supports with this understanding. We believe we must fly higher with SMEs, and we wish to set an example.”
After its acquisition by ASELSAN, BİTES has been advancing steadily and quickly. With its projects with ASELSAN and the corporate structure that is set up by the acquisition, BİTES is now a company that does not have to sway with the winds, a company that is steady and follows long time strategies, and a company that has the potential to employ many more people and become a global player.
Gürbağ Defence and Technology Grows with the Products Türkiye Needs
Gürbağ Defence and Technology is another company that is in the limelight within the sector. The company, established in Ankara in the last quarter of 2020, is a part of Gürbağ Group, The company produces indigenous products in the fields the sector needs, such as, GSPT-DUAL, a pan-tilt system that can direct multiple payloads in two independent axes, and Si-Ta Molle, a carrying apparatus for long barrelled weapons like rifles and machine guns.
The company has also been focusing on making domestic replacements for the components that sector imports. Gürbağ Defence and Technology set up a new installation at OSTİM Organised Industrial Zone in the first quarter of this year, with 2,000 square metres of enclosed space, activating its assembly line and production line capabilities. The company also invested in its R&D department and aims to quickly respond to the mechanical and electromechanical needs of the sector.
Last Sprint for SEDEC
One of the most important events for the sector, SEDEC, draws ever closer, planned to be held in Ankara between 28-30 June.
We are finishing our preparation for MSI TDR SEDEC Special Issue that will be in Turkish, as well. SEDEC officials highlight the fact that they are getting ready to host plenty of foreign delegations in Ankara. We will also prepare a special dossier after the event, reflecting our careful observations on every aspect of the event, and we will include both the highlights and unnoticed important developments. These contents will also be published in MSI TDR’s English edition and AMAC Magazine and will reach the foreign stakeholders of the sector.
We wish to be with you again, dear reader, in our June issue that will include the important developments in May.