You can read the interview published in the September 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:
In the previous section of our IDEF Special Dossier we provided news on the products displayed by HENSOLDT at the exhibition, namely the VIPERFISH optical communication solution for divers, the COBRA counter battery radar, the MILDS missile warning system, the ARGOS-II HD/HDT electro-optical surveillance system and the PrecISR multi-function air radar. In this section, we present the interview we conducted with HENSOLDT officials.
During the exhibition, HENSOLDT, whose products are already in use in Turkey and who has been engaged in numerous joint projects with Turkish companies, held meetings aimed at deepening these relations. We spoke with Harald Hansen, Director of Sales for Maritime Optronics at HENSOLDT, and Levent Dünya, Director of HENSOLDT Turkey’s Ankara Liaison Office, about the company’s agenda at the fair and its activities targeting Turkey.
MSI TDR: First of all, what would you like to tell about HENSOLDT’s expectations from IDEF?
Levent DÜNYA: This is the first time HENSOLDT is participating at IDEF, and our main goal is to identify areas in which we can create synergies with Turkish defence and aerospace industries. IDEF has now become the 4th largest defence fair in the world, and attracts significant attention from many players. This is a great opportunity for us to communicate with those that we would normally find hard to reach, For this reason, we are participating in the fair with a wide range of our products.
MSI TDR: What is the importance of the Turkish market for HENSOLDT?
Levent DÜNYA: In line with the growth of the Turkish defence and aerospace sector, those operating in the sector are also growing and have started to focus on exports in addition to the domestic market. Our intention is to work together with our solution partners in Turkey for both local and international projects, and we are also continuing our talks with the main players on future projects in which we may create synergies.
MSI TDR: What kind of a partnership model do you envisage for the projects you will carry out with Turkish companies?
Levent DÜNYA: We are open to any business model that results in a win-win situation with Turkish companies. We are also interested in joint projects with third countries. We can shape our partnership models according to the user and to the market in which these projects are being conducted. For example, Turkey has a very strong position in the Middle East market, and so Turkish companies can become the prime contractor in the projects targeting this market. In short, we will choose the model that will be most beneficial for the project, for us, and for our Turkish partner.
MSI TDR: There are many projects that are being conducted by HENSOLDT in Turkey. Especially those conducted jointly with STM. Can you begin by giving us a brief idea of the nature of these cooperations?
Harald HANSEN: We have been working together with STM on many projects for quite some time. For example, we took part in the modernisation project for the AY-class submarines in the inventory of Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC), in which STM was the prime contractor. Furthermore, within the scope of the project conducted by STM in Pakistan for the modernisation of its AGOSTA-class submarines, we supply periscopes and electronic mast systems for the first two submarines. In recent weeks we have signed a contract in the project for the modernisation of PREVEZE-class submarines, in which STM is also involved. We recently decided to carry out even more technology-oriented projects with STM, and STM brought us together with BAUMIND, a spin-off company that operates under Bahçeşehir University that is engaged in studies of underwater optical communications. Both BAUMIND and STM have been working on projects in this field. We, on the other hand, have developed optical surveillance systems for both underwater and surface applications. We decided to bring these two systems together, putting forward a solution that enables communication between submarines and divers. We have already completed the concept design and are now in the system engineering phase.
MSI TDR: Have you been in talks with any companies or potential users regarding this solution?
Harald HANSEN: Many shipyards in different countries are interested in our products, and the ones that are most interested are midget submarine builders The entry and exit of divers to and from diving submarines has always been risky, and the current technologies used for underwater communication are inadequate in this regard. That is why I think our product has a serious potential.
MSI TDR: Apart from STM, with which players are you cooperating or in contact with in Turkey?
Levent DÜNYA: We have presented proposals with different products of our MILDS missile warning system family for two different projects being run by ASELSAN, and ASELSAN has submitted its proposal for these projects to the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB). Similarly, we also want to improve our relationship with HAVELSAN and to take part in projects both in Turkey and abroad with them. We have already conducted our first talks in this regard. In other areas, we have signed a contract with BMC for the supply of Sniper Auxiliary Sight Systems for the ALTAY main battle tank. We see BMC as a strategic partner in the field of land vehicles, due to its strong position in the region. Turkish Aerospace is another company that we would like to work with, especially in the field of UAVs. We have not yet realised a joint project with them, although there are many solutions for UAVs within our product range – the ARGOS 2 electro-optical surveillance systems and the PrecISR radar being just two of them. ARGOS 2 makes a difference due to its embedded automatic target tracking function, while PrecISR stands out with its functionality and sensing capability, which have yet to be matched by a global competitor. Another company with which we would like to have a collaboration with is Roketsan. We believe that we can work together on many value-added projects. We believe that can help them with the electro-optical sensors used aboard guided missiles.
MSI TDR: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Levent DÜNYA: HENSOLDT is a Germany-based company that has witnessed steady growth through the acquisition of companies operating in the defence sector in various other countries. In addition to the close relations established with Turkey by HENSOLDT, there are also projects conducted jointly by Turkish companies and the companies we acquire. For example, NEXEYA, the French company of which we acquired the majority of shares, is working with Turkish Aerospace and Roketsan on various projects, and the radars of Kelvin Hughes, which we acquired in 2017, are being used in the submarine modernisation programmes conducted by STM in Pakistan. In addition, we have two other companies in South Africa, namely, Denel Optronics and GEW that we have brought together under the name HENSOLDT South Africa, that are also working with Turkish companies.
On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Harald Hansen, Director of Sales for Maritime Optronics at HENSOLDT, and Levent Dünya, Director of HENSOLDT Turkey’s Ankara Liaison Office, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.