Samsun Yurt Savunma (SYS) is expanding the range of indigenous accessories it offers to its users together with its globally preferred pistols, for which it has entered into a partnership with Aselsan Sivas. In the state tenders in which it has participated in recent years, SYS has been offering different brands of optical sights for its pistols, but has recently developed a reflex sight jointly with Aselsan Sivas, blending its own experience with that of Aselsan Sivas, the leader in Turkey in the field of rifle sight production. The reflex sight will be produced by Aselsan Sivas and be offered for sale under the brand of MECANİK.
SYS and Aselsan Sivas are continuing in their efforts to provide a better experience to pistol users during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the contract signed between SYS and Aselsan Sivas, the micro reflex sights are to be designed by SYS and produced by Aselsan Sivas. The first people with access to these micro reflex sights will be the users of SYS’ TP9 METE pistols.
Component Required for Excellent Shooting
The components required for successful shooting include a good pistol, a competent shooter and a good sight. At this point, reflex sights come to the forefront, with the performance of the TP9 SFx, which is a member of the same pistol family as the TP9 METE, developed for sportive shooting purposes, in recent years being testament to this.
The TP9 SFx, having been first offered to the market in 2016, was awarded as the pistol of the year in the United States in 2017 and is the weapon of choice of the Canik Arms shooting team, the brand of SYS. Using a TP9 SFx, which has an optical sight, team captain Nils Jonasson won third prize in competition in the United States in the category of shooting with an optical pistol.
SYS has extensive experience in optical sights, as explained by C. Utku Aral, General Manager of SYS: “SYS has been working in the field of optics for many years. We receive invitations from many countries to participate in their state tenders, and in the related tests, many times the accessories are also tested, including optical sights. The SYS R&D Centre – the department also in charge of optics – has for a long time been working to determine the optics that will offer the best performance to our pistols. As part of these efforts, SYS R&D Centre focused on optical qualification processes, bringing us considerable expertise in this area.
During this process, while participating in many state tenders in various countries, we have seen countless optical sights, and we were able to see the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Today, we have reached a point at which we can design our own optics that feature the best aspects of the best models in the world, and we have achieved this by utilising all our knowhow and experience.”
Experience Brings About Productisation
In the national and international tenders in which it has participated, SYS has been involved in many works on reflex sights. The company realised during this process that it needed to have a better understanding of these types of sights, and so mobilised its R&D Centre and its experience in the field of optics to address the issue. The process gained momentum with the launch of talks with Aselsan Sivas at IDEF’19.
Turkey’s Centre of Excellence in Optics
Established with the aim of developing and producing optical and optomechanical units and electro optical devices indigenously, Aselsan Sivas is a natural business partner for SYS. Aselsan Sivas, which has become a centre of excellence in its field of expertise in Turkey, has also extensive experience in optical sights.
Summarising the progress, they have made since their establishment in 2016, Murat Şahin, General Manager of Aselsan Sivas, said: “Since our establishment, we have indigenised the production of a total of 122 optical and optomechanical units, as well as electro optical devices, which are difficult to produce. Among these defence industry products are 1x-4x Day Vision Sight, A600 Night Vision plugin, KND 3-12×50 Sniper Scope, Closed Reflex and Thermal Objective products. In the field of reflex sights, we have designed and produced more than 20,000 open rifle reflex sights, some of which have entered the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces.”
Synergy of the Best
Defining their cooperation with Aselsan Sivas for the production of micro reflex sights, Aral said: “The production of precision optics requires very special expertise, and that’s why we are working together with the best optics producer in our country.”
Before launching this cooperation, a considerable market research was carried out, covering both Turkey and the rest of the world. The result of this research was a list of the most important features of reflex sights. Immediately after IDEF’19, in July 2019, a letter of intent was signed between SYS and Aselsan Sivas, and as a result of the works conducted in this regard, a production contract was signed in April.
Within the scope of the cooperation between the two companies, SYS will be responsible for concept, external design and qualification, while Aselsan Sivas will be in charge of the design of optics and optomechanics and the serial production of reflex sights. This collaboration highlights the fields in which each party excels. SYS determines the concept and standards of the product; carries out the industrial design of all metal parts; and defines the testing, acceptance and qualification processes; while Aselsan Sivas utilises its experience and capabilities in the fields of optical and optomechanical design and serial production of electro-optical devices. In this context, Aselsan Sivas will design, test and integrate into serial production all the optical and optomechanical components.
The design and brand rights of the product that will be rolled out will be reserved by SYS. The product will be sold under the MECANİK brand, which is SYS’ accessory brand, and accordingly, sales and marketing activities will be carried out by SYS.
The collaboration between SYS and Aselsan Sivas is unique not only in its synergy, but also in its business model. As a result of the conducted market researches, the product will be put forth through a study launched with the companies’ own resources. In other words, the product is not being developed upon a direct request of a procurement authority or in the context of a state support. The related works are being conducted in accordance with needs identified by SYS, and so are based on market potential.
From the First Product to a Product Family
The first product to be offered for sale under the MECANİK brand will be the micro reflex sight developed for the TP9 METE series pistols under the Indigenous Local Handgun Development Project conducted by the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) that has already entered the inventory. The first prototypes to be ready for serial production are scheduled to emerge at the end of a 100-day timeline.
The product, which will be named MO 1 METE, will have click adjustment feature and will be able to be reset to ensure compatibility with different gun models.
Offering this product to the interest of civilian users is also among the short term plans of SYS. Commenting on their targets related to this product, Aral said: “Until two years ago, there were only two manufacturers in the global micro reflex optics market, but this figure is now increasing. Considering the competition, we are entering the market with a high-standard product, and we believe that it will be among the top three products on the international market in terms of its technical features.”
Şahin shared his views about the point achieved as a result of their efforts: “In this project, we have managed to reduce red dot scatter thanks to an innovative optical thin film coating solution. Our optomechanical design capabilities have allowed us to come up with lighter products than our competitors. In the first stage, we are targeting to produce 5,000 units of MO 1 METE per month, and we foresee this production volume making an annual contribution of $6 million to the turnover of Aselsan Sivas. We have also completed the design works for two different models in different configurations, and have proceeded to the serial production phase. Design works on Closed Handgun Reflex and Competition Handgun Reflex have been launched with the aim of adding these products to the product family of handgun reflexes; and we are targeting to make them ready for serial production soon.”
It is foreseen that the micro reflex sight will also be compatible with Canik Arms’ other pistol models. Defining the impact of a good sight on marketing activities, Aral said: “The great success achieved by Canik Arms’ professional shooter Nils Jonasson with the TP9 SFx in competitions in the ‘shooting with an optical handgun’ category, and his taking of the third prize in the United States in 2019, have made Canik the best-selling arms company in the US market in the field of optical handguns.”
Aselsan Sivas has also identified the company’s export targets. Defining their approach, Şahin said: “Aselsan Sivas is targeting the entire domestic market in the handgun reflex market, as it is already doing for rifle sights. With the aim of gaining a share of the global market, the first market to be targeted for exports has been planned as the American continent.”
The medium- and long-term target of SYS is to develop a product family in the field of reflex sights. Commenting on their target, Aral said: “Canik Arms is the world’s largest manufacturer of micro-optic compatible mission guns. To date, it has offered to the market hundreds of thousands of micro-optic compatible platforms. That is why our first priority was to develop a design that can be integrated into our optically compatible platforms without interfaces and in a practical way. In this way, the user will be able to mount the optics onto the handgun very easily, and without the need for an interface. We as SYS have planned an optics family rather than a single optic product. Thus, there is a long and exciting process ahead of us.”