In Ankara, Turkey hawks attack copters, UAVs to Putrajaya

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Malaysian delegates visit Turkish Aerospace Industries at the outskirts of Ankara July 25, 2019. — Bernama pic
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Malaysian delegates visit Turkish Aerospace Industries at the outskirts of Ankara July 25, 2019. — Bernama pic

ANKARA, July 25 — The Turkish government showed off today an array of aerial defence vehicles to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.

The duo were joined by the Malaysian delegation visiting Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), part of the country’s military-industrial complex push.

The delegates were given a tour of the sprawling TAI complex, before an air show featuring its T129 Atak attack and reconnaissance helicopter, Hurkus trainer combat aircraft, and the Anka medium-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Other crafts on display included the TF Turkish Fighter, a fifth generation multirole fighter jet, and Hurjet, a trainer and light attack aircraft.

The Malaysian delegation also included Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, International Trade and Industries Minister Darell Leiking, and Chief of Defence Forces General Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin.

Clad in a blue TAI baseball cap, Dr Mahathir, however, only acknowledged the media and did not comment on any possible purchase in the future.

The ambassador to Turkey Datuk Abd Razak Abdul Wahad had prior to the visit said defence will likely be heavily discussed during Dr Mahathir’s visit, alongside trade.

Today’s show will likely whet Putrajaya’s appetite, as Malaysia looks for more affordable choices for aerial defence following spending cuts.

This comes amid Turkish’s growing ambition to ramp up its defence industry and exports, with UAV production reportedly a key focus of its plan.

TAI’s majority shareholders is the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, and was established under its Ministry of Industry and Technology in a bid to reduce foreign dependency in its defence industry.

Aircraft are seen when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Malaysian delegates visit the Turkish Aerospace Industries at the outskirts of Ankara July 25, 2019. — Bernama pic
Aircraft are seen when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Malaysian delegates visit the Turkish Aerospace Industries at the outskirts of Ankara July 25, 2019. — Bernama pic