Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced three Turkish companies have been selected to build the country’s first indigenous long-range air and anti-missile system.
The president said the first deliveries under the “Siper” program, or “Ditch” in Turkish, are expected at the end of 2021.
The program partners are state-controlled military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company; state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan; and Tubitak Sage, a defense specialist and part of Turkey’s state scientific research institute.
“This system is crucial for Turkey’s defense and the partners are taking a new step with this project that will upgrade Turkey in the league of defense systems,” Erdogan said.
To expand its long-range defenses, Turkey decided to purchase the Russian-made S-400 system. When the system is deployed on Turkish soil, the country will become the first NATO member to operate the S-400.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said deployment of the S-400 will begin by October 2019.
Erdogan’s announcement comes as Aselsan and Roketsan are communicating with Franco-Italian company Eurosam for the co-production of its SAMP/T system in Turkey. The communication is expected to continue under a conceptual contract with the European producer.
Scheduled to last 18 months, the study is meant to prep a development and production contract for the future system, which is expected to meet operational requirements of the Turkish Air Force.