Home EDITORIAL COMMENT Remarks of Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, Ease Concerns of the Sector for the Future

Remarks of Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, Ease Concerns of the Sector for the Future

by MSI

Ümit BAYRAKTAR / ubayraktar@milscint.com
Executive Editor of MSI Turkish Defence Review

The main agenda item during our interview with Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, on 7 May was the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the sector and its projects. Perhaps the most important message he gave during the interview, in which he answered many of the questions in the minds of the sector, was that the defence sector had not been as badly affected by the pandemic as the civil aviation sector.

Another issue of concern to the sector that was clarified by Prof. Dr. Demir was that if deemed necessary, the pandemic would be considered an act of “force majeure” and so it would be ensured that companies would not suffer.

Stating that one of the main duties of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) is to support the defence sector and sustain the ecosystem, Prof. Dr. Demir emphasised that they were closely monitoring the problems and difficulties faced by the sectoral companies, down to the level of subcontractors and SMEs, and were willing to offer solutions. He added that the necessary measures would be taken if small companies with financial difficulties contact the SSB.

During the interview, Prof. Dr. Demir also mentioned some upcoming opportunities, especially in the export markets, noting that solutions rather than single products may be exported to relevant countries as part of packages. In the said model, the aim is to offer a multi-part solution in the form of a solution package, including a public security management network, vehicle tracking systems, communication infrastructure and cyber security.

Underlining that there had been no domestic setbacks in the scheduled deliveries of projects, Prof. Dr. Demir gave the deliveries of FNSS’ KAPLAN Anti-Tank Vehicle (ATV) and STM’s KARGU-2 UAV as examples of the continuation of works. He stated that they had adopted a clear attitude to the prevention of delays especially for strategically important projects, adding that they were working to minimise the impacts of international disruptions on the projects.

Both the continuation of deliveries despite the disruptions in the supply chain, and the fact that new contracts have been signed during the pandemic are significant indications of the low impact of the pandemic on the sector.

A Documentary on a First in Turkish Aviation History, and what it Recalls

The documentary about the development process of AKINCI, Turkey’s first attack aircraft, was unveiled to the public on 24 May. Broadcasted simultaneously on various television channels and through Baykar’s social media accounts, the documentary was watched by millions in a few days.

While watching the documentary, which tells the story of how AKINCI was prepared for its first flight of 16 minutes, and showing the steps leading up to this first flight, we couldn’t stop thinking about the approach of our sector to success, and sometimes, to its failures.

Today, we are aware that many of the developments in the history of the sector have not been recorded, either consciously or unconsciously; or have been lost; while only very limited information is available on some issues. Many things that should have been noted in history are absent from the corporate memory of the sector.

In fact, we could further analyse this issue by associating it with such factors such as the sector’s perception of competition and the way it does business, but we will not go that far.

The fact that a documentary about AKINCI was released only five months after its first flight on 6 December, 2019 guarantees that nothing will be lost for Baykar, as the developer of the UAV. By publishing this documentary, Baykar has set the tone of how it is perceived in the eyes of the public.

Actually, it comes as no surprise that Baykar chose to present a documentary-type report to the public, being something unique for the Turkish defence and aerospace sector, as Baykar has attached great importance to informing the public about its activities and promoting itself since the mid-2000s.  We have not seen, certainly recently, any such communication policy in the sector. Baykar has always been a company that shares its newsworthy activities with the public, and that has always considered the promotion and announcement of its products as part of the business.

In parallel with Baykar’s development over time, the frequency of these promotional announcements has increased, and Baykar has made use of almost all means of communication. Baykar has forged ahead of many companies in the sector in their use of social media platforms as well as in the printed and visual media.

This capability is important for Baykar, which is now starting to make its name in the export markets with the aim of becoming a global company and improving on its current position.

Although Eurosatory has been Cancelled, the Eurosatory Special Issue of MSI TDR will Meet with the World

Many trade fairs, including Eurosatory, have announced that their doors will remain closed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. News of the postponement and cancellation of such fairs, which have come one after the other, have also disrupted the plans of the companies that seek to introduce their new products to the global markets.

The suggestion to publish a digital issue in June came from the organisers of Eurosatory against this background. We thought it would be a good opportunity for the magazine to be distributed to some 170,000 people by the organisers of Eurosatory, in terms of announcing the activities of the sector abroad.

Although we had little time to prepare, it was a good opportunity for us to share such this special issue instead of our June issue with the Eurosatory organisation, as it would give us the opportunity to show off our capabilities.

With a view to supporting Turkish companies in the achievement of their targeted exports following the cancellation of the event, and to aid in their sales, marketing and business development activities in an environment with limited communication opportunities, we said “yes”, without hesitation, and set to work. It was exciting for us to be given the chance to promote the Turkish defence and aerospace sector to the world at such a critical time.

After preparing this special issue in a short amount of time, we handed it over to Eurosatory officials, and we are now looking forward to seeing the results in terms of the number of online views of this special issue and the number of distributed copies. We will share these figures with you in our upcoming issues.

 We attach great importance to the results of this study, in that it will also shed light on our ongoing efforts to improve the services we offer and to ensuring that a wider audience benefits from our services.

Let’s end our words by noting that MSI TDR’s Eurosatory Special Digital Issue can now be accessed via our website, free of charge.

We hope to see you again next month in our July issue, in which we will be sharing the most important and noteworthy developments from the month of June.

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