Business & Defence

Turkey’s Hurjet Aircraft, Competitor To LCA Tejas, Is On Exhibit At Malaysian Defence Exhibition In Attempt To ‘Steal The LCA Deal’

Representatives from Turkey’s military industry are presently exhibiting their products at Malaysia’s biennial weapons expo, looking to increase cooperation and expand their footprint in the Indo-Pacific region.

In the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur, the 17th Military Service Asia Exhibition and Conference features items from 32 Turkish defence companies, including Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

The event is taking held in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia appears to be a big buyer of Turkish armoured vehicles, boats, and weaponry systems. The previous edition, scheduled for 2020, was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The two most significant Turkish defence products on show are Anka, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and Hürjet, an advanced trainer jet.  Turkey looks to be competing for drone sales with China and the United States, as well as light combat aircraft (LCA) accords with India.

TAI opened its first engineering and design facility in Selangor, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, last November to bolster attempts to form new defence and aviation joint ventures with Malaysia.

It’s worth noting that the contractor has also submitted a bid for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAFlight )’s combat aircraft (LCA) tender, offering the Hürjet. The project began in 2017, and the plane is expected to take to the skies for the first time in 2023.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), jet trainers, original helicopter development, structural capabilities, and modernization projects are among the areas where the company plans to perform cooperative studies. This is in the interests of the aviation ecology.

“We want to conduct substantial research with Malaysian engineers in our tech centre in Malaysia to develop the two countries’ capacities in the sphere of aviation and space industry,” said Temel Kotil, the company’s CEO.

‘Malaysia is a centre of growing importance in the sphere of technology among Asian countries,’ Kotil continued. Our HÜRJET platform is being pitched in Malaysia’s Jet Trainer tender, which is being widely watched throughout the world.

We will continue to contribute to the development of aviation technology capacities between the two countries regardless of the outcome of this tender.”

The six companies competing for the Light Fighter Jet contract are India’s HAL with the Tejas, Malaysia’s Aerospace Technology Systems with the MiG-35, China’s Catic with the L-15, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with the FA-50, Italy’s Leonardo with the M-346, and Turkey’s TAI with the Hurjet. The Chinese and Pakistani JF-17, the Russian Yak-130, and the American T7A, which had been expected to compete, are no longer in the running.

According to several reports, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) appear to be in a tight race for the contract.

Other Turkish firms exhibiting their latest products include Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan, Roketsan, Havelsan, BMC, Kale Kalp, MKE, Nurol Makina, and Otokar.

Malaysia, according to Turkish media, is one of the industry’s most important and strategic allies in Southeast Asia. Despite the fact that sales to the country were only $2.6 million last year, they had been about $20 million for the previous three years. According to sources, the sector intends to raise the amount above the $40 million milestone reached in 2017.

Around 1,170 companies from the global military and security industry from 54 countries and regions, 20 foreign pavilions, 350 VIP delegations from 45 countries, and 40,000 visitors from 50 countries and regions will attend the Defense Service Asia Exhibition and Conference.

According to the fair’s organiser, Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian weapon manufacturers will not participate in Malaysia’s biennial arms expo Defence Services Asia (DSA) due to the continuing conflict.

“The reasons are self-evident. There are no planes out of Ukraine, and Russia may have difficulties with financial transactions and service payments, according to the organiser.

Focus on Asia

Last year, the Turkish military received TAI’s next-generation armed drone, Aksungur, which features sonobuoy capabilities, which are unique for a drone. It can execute anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrolling missions thanks to its integrated detectors and sensors. The Turkish defence industry has hailed this drone as a suitable fit for Indo-Pacific countries because of its capabilities.

Turkish defence firms, like the Bayraktar drone manufacturer, are looking to expand into Asian markets. “Many countries in China’s neighbourhood will not be eager to buy drones from China, so we are giving them a better option.” Baykar Defense CEO Haluk Bayraktar told Nikkei Asia earlier this month.

Even during the Ukraine crisis, footage showing Baykar’s armed Bayraktar TB-2 destroying Russian tanks, armoured vehicles, and surface-to-air missile defence systems went viral on social media.

The TB-2 has received 19 export deals since its maiden delivery to Qatar in 2018, including Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Six new offerings have been added in the previous three months alone.

Baykar is now working on a next-generation TB-3 drone that will be capable of landing helicopter dock-class warships as well as taking off and landing from aircraft carriers. It plans to launch the first TB-3 this year, followed by the TCG Anadolu, Turkey’s first LHD-class vessel.

“The future TB-3 will be a wonderful fit for Japan’s Izumo-class platforms,” Haluk Bayraktar said, referring to the country’s multifunctional destroyer, which analysts refer to as a de facto aircraft carrier.

Another Turkish defence contractor, STM, will be attending the defence exhibition in Malaysia with a range of goods, including the Kargu rotary-wing attack drone, according to zgür Güleryüz, CEO of STM.

“We are currently in communication with numerous Asian countries due to interest in our loitering bombs, including Kargu,” he stated.

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