Raytheon Touts Local Benefits in Turkish Missile Defense Bid

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Ankara, Turkey — The Turkish defense industry could receive work worth more than $2 billion if the Raytheon team wins Turkey’s multibillion-dollar competition for long-range missile and air defense systems, Raytheon officials said. At the same time, Tom Kennedy, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, said a Raytheon win would create thousands of U.S. jobs.

The U.S. partnership of Raytheon, a top missile maker, and Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense company, is competing for the Turkish contract with Patriot air and missile defense systems. The systems fire Lockheed’s Patriot Advance Capability (PAC)-3 and Raytheon’s GEM-T anti-air missiles.

Other competitors are the Italian-French Eurosam, proposing its SAMP/T Aster 30; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S300; and China’s Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp., offering its HQ-9.

Mike Boots, Turkey Patriot program manager at Raytheon, said his company has special cooperation agreements with Turkey’s Aselsan, a military electronics powerhouse and the country’s largest defense company, and Roketsan, Turkey’s main missile and rocket maker.

“Through our contracts with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the Turkish defense industry [mainly Aselsan and Roketsan] already has agreements worth a few hundred million dollars for the sale of Patriot components to these countries,” Boots said.

“If we win the Turkish contract, another $2 billion may come to the Turkish industry related to our sales to several Middle Eastern countries and other customers elsewhere,” he said. “If we win the Turkish contract, the local partners already will be producing Patriot components for the national program, so they will have a great chance to win part or all of this $2 billion from our expected sales to other countries. The Turkish defense industry already will be experienced in making their parts.”

In addition, in line with a requirement by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, Turkey’s procurement agency, all foreign companies seeking Turkish deals need to guarantee that at least half of the work should be done by Turkish companies locally.

“This way, work worth more than another $2 billion will stay in Turkey, to be undertaken by Turkish companies,” said Boots, implying that the price of the U.S. systems could be around $4 billion. The price depends mostly on the configuration of the systems.

“The Turkish contract would create thousands of jobs for the United States; it will be a significant boost for the U.S. economy,” Raytheon’s Kennedy said.

“Patriot is the only combat-proven air and missile defense system in the world, and with the ground-up production along with modernization, Patriot is still the technologically most advanced system for the evolving threats. In fact, the U.S. Army has announced that it plans to keep Patriot in its inventory at least until 2040,” Kennedy said.

“Currently, there are 12 countries that rely on Patriot for their air and missile defense, and we are hoping that Turkey will join the Patriot family soon,” Kennedy added. “As a NATO member and a strong U.S. ally, this will provide Turkey with interoperability with all our 12 Patriot partners, including five NATO nations.”

The program, called T-Loramids, is not a commercial tender; instead, Ankara is holding government-to-government talks with the U.S., Italy, Russia and China. Turkey’s national air defense systems are designed against both ballistic missiles and aircraft.

One potential problem between Turkey and NATO is the presence of China and Russia in the competition, non-NATO members whose systems are not compatible with the alliance’s systems and procedures.

Some Western governments and experts suggested that if, for example, China wins, it could inadvertently gain access to NATO information because of the connection between Turkish and NATO systems, and this may compromise alliance security.

But Turkish procurement chief Murad Bayar said that Turkey had no intention to expel Russia or China from the air defense competition.

“One explanation is that Turkey itself doesn’t plan to select the Chinese or Russian alternatives, but still is retaining them among options to put pressure on the Americans and the Europeans to curb their prices,” one Western expert said.

Separately, under a NATO plan approved during a November summit in Lisbon, Portugal, the alliance will create a collective missile system against potential ballistic missiles from rogue countries. Turkey agreed only after the alliance accepted a Turkish request that neither Iran nor other countries would be specifically mentioned as potential sources of the threat.

NATO now seeks to deploy X-band radars in Turkish territory for early detection of missiles launched from the region. Ideally, U.S.-made Standard Missile-3 interceptors — based on U.S. Aegis destroyers to be deployed in the eastern Mediterranean and probably in Romania — would then be fired to hit the incoming missile midflight.

Turkey’s national air defense system will be independent from the NATO missile shield. But because both systems are, by nature, anti-ballistic missile schemes and both are supposed to protect Turkish soil, they will have to be integrated in some way.