Ümit BAYRAKTAR / firstname.lastname@example.org
The significance of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) for the healthy development of the Turkish defence and aerospace sector is an issue on which all parties are of the same mind. Although theory and practice are not yet fully aligned, technological SMEs in particular are playing a leading role in this sectoral growth in many aspects.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Akana Engineering is one of the leading technological SMEs in the sector, with a 30-year journey that serves to show both what can be achieved by investments in SMEs, and why technological SMEs are so important.
Today, Akana Engineering is making critical contributions to the sector, particularly in its studies in the field of energetic material processes and equipment, as a field in which there are very few players.
The company’s success in reaching this critical position is a direct result of its participation in the Thermal Battery project of TÜBİTAK SAGE in 2003.
Having gained experience in meeting the quality requirements of the defence and aerospace sector in this project, the company has since been improving its ability to develop and manufacture polymer-based rocket fuels and equipment for the manufacture of various explosive materials, thanks in particular to the vision and knowledge of its managers.
This is very important. At the time of its establishment, it was envisioned that the company would be engaged in manufacturing rather than engineering activities, however the role it undertook in the Thermal Battery project paved the way for Akana Engineering to reach its current critical position in the sector.
Technological SMEs have a Say in Exports
Having developed itself and opted to specialise in a challenging field, Akana Engineering is attracting attention through its exports, which accounted for 56 percent of its turnover for 2019.
Looking at the details of the exports of the company, the sales of high-tech systems and facilities are prominent. After undergoing a restructuring to increase its export potential, the company is hoping to begin reaping the fruits of its investments in this field by 2021.
Now let’s move on to the two other leading technological SMEs in the sector: GES Engineering and Gökser Makina, both of which made a name for themselves in July with news of exports.
The electronic control unit of GES Engineering’s Shelter Leveling System has been selected by a company operating in a NATO-member state to manage the automatic levelling of its systems.
Gökser Makina, on the other hand, has received an additional order from an existing customer to which it has previously supplied aircraft ground support systems following a tender in which it outperformed its European rivals.
Behind these export news items are companies with similar success stories to that of Akana Engineering, which we have just summarized above.
Leading Actors in Indigenisation: Technological SMEs
One of the most prominent technological SMEs in the news in July was Anova, which continues to make a name for itself through its indigenisation projects. The company’s Fuel Transfer Pump, the indigenisation of which was launched as part of a Technology Development Liability project, has been certified after the completion of tests carried out in accordance with military standards. The Fuel Transfer Pump is a critical subsystem that can be used on various military platforms, including the ATMACA Surface-to-Surface Guided Missile.
Such achievements by our technological SMEs are of particular importance for the development of the sector. Today, we are fully aware that many export initiatives of the defence and aerospace sector fail due to the fact that some or all of the sub-systems used on a platform or a system that is to be exported are supplied from abroad.
Such problems are encountered not only in the projects of prospective foreign clients, but also in domestic projects, especially those for the platforms or systems used by the Turkish security forces.
We can all cite examples of this.
In their efforts to acquire critical capabilities and to develop new technologies, technological SMEs are in a key position based on their ability to resolve problems of this kind that are experienced both by Turkey and by friendly and allied nations.
There are many more things that can be said about the importance of technological SMEs.
To summarize, for the healthy development of the sector, technological SMEs should be more effectively engaged in the projects carried out by prime contractors, and more workshare should be passed on to them.
Although the rise and development of technological SMEs may result in the loss of certain privileges by certain players in the sector, the overall success and future of the Turkish defence and aerospace sector will depend on the actions taken in this regard.
We hope to see you again in our September issue, in which we will share the most significant and noteworthy developments from August.