In occasion of the Langkawi show, ADJ Today speaks to STM’s Chief Executive Officer, Ozgur Guleryuz on the company’s latest technological know-how and plans ahead to provide Asia-Pacific maritime forces with reliable innovative defence solutions.
ADJ Today: STM is making more inroads in the Asia-Pacific region, more so in Malaysia. Could you tell us on your ongoing programmes here in the region, as well as that of the future? What values would you like to bring for naval forces here?
Guleryuz: STM has been developing innovative and modern combat platforms for the Turkish armed forces since it was established in 1991. We have taken part in many national projects of the Turkish defence sector and have undertaken critical tasks through which we have gained engineering and technology experience, and have since made significant investments to expand this experience. Today, we are engaged in a wide range of market segments, including naval platforms, cybersecurity, tactical mini-UAV systems, radar systems, satellite technologies, command and control systems, and certification and consultancy services.
The military naval projects in which we have been involved and the tactical mini-UAV systems and cybersecurity solutions we have delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces, which is the second largest army in NATO, have brought us significant engineering experience, and we have shared this experience with friendly and allied nations over the years. We are engaged in collaborations, export and business development activities in more than 20 countries, from South America to the Far East.
We are currently carrying out joint studies in various projects in Asia, particularly with the Turkic Republics and Pakistan. We consider that Turkiye has many friendly and allied nations in the Asia-Pacific region with which we have common ties. Accordingly, we are carrying out business development activities in South Asia to enhance the defence capacity of many countries with modern systems. For example, in 2022, we participated at the Defence Services Asia exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, the IndoDefence Expo & Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia and finally the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) exhibition in Karachi, Pakistan. At these events, we took the opportunity to highlight our surface and underwater military platforms and tactical mini-UAV systems, and provided information to high-level military delegations about our systems and our ability to configure them according to their needs.
We want to be the solution partner of Malaysia in the seas. With our experience in MİLGEM and I-class frigates we have built in Turkiye, and international projects in Ukraine and Pakistan, we believe that we will sign important partnerships in the Asia-Pacific.
STM provides high-technology engineering solutions related to the design, construction and modernisation of platforms, especially in military naval projects. Our engineering experience and design capability allow us to produce tailor-made solutions to satisfy our customers’ needs. As a main contractor, we control the entire construction and modernisation processes of various platforms, from initial design to delivery.
We provide our security forces with innovative and domestic systems, and regard the collaborative projects that we are carrying out with friendly and allied nations as partnerships, as we are not only selling products and solutions to our customers, but also making an effort the develop their technologies and production capabilities. As such, we see them as our partners in the defence field while carrying out joint production and sharing our know-how. We are exporting systems that comply with NATO standards and that are being used with great success by Turkish security forces on the field to other countries as cost-effective and modern high-quality engineering solutions. We share our knowledge, experience, and engineering capabilities with friendly and allied nations. Our company has always maintained transparency and openness in the sharing and transfer of experience, technology and information.
For example, under one of Turkiye’s largest platform export projects we developed the capacity of a local shipyard in Karachi and then produced and delivered the Pakistan Navy fleet tanker (PNS Moawin), which has been operating successfully since 2018. We are also continuing the modernisation of the French-made Agosta 90B-class submarines of the Pakistan Navy in our role as main contractor in cooperation with the PN Dockyard in Pakistan. We want all our business partners abroad to know that we are looking to develop engineering solutions that meet their requirements, at the right time and with the right budget, through planning and scheduling.
In addition, we are continuing with the modernisation of Pakistan’s Agosta 90B/Khalid-class submarines that were built originally by France. Within the project, which we started in 2016, we have already delivered the first batch of two submarines, while modernisation works on the third remaining submarines are continuing. This is STM’s first time acting as the main contractor in a submarine modernisation project being conducted in a foreign country.
Under a project including elements of technology transfer, we started the construction of a corvette for the Ukrainian Navy in 2021, and launched the vessel in Istanbul in October 2022. The project is continuing as scheduled.
In the MİLGEM National Corvette Project, which is a source of pride for our country, we increased our focus on the naval platforms field. Drawing upon the experience we gained in the project, we took on the role of main contractor in the modernisation of the Ay-class submarines (Type-209/1200) in the inventory of the Turkish Navy. After successfully completing the modernisation of two submarines, we delivered them in 2015. Subsequently, we were assigned the role of main contractor in the modernisation of the Preveze-class submarines (Type 209/1400), and we took on the role of main contractor for TCG İstanbul, Turkiye’s first national frigate, which we expect to deliver it in 2023. We are continuing to work intensively with the goal of delivering the ship to our Navy on the 100th anniversary of our Republic with an indigenisation rate of at least 75%. Our President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has performed the steel cutting ceremony for the construction of three new MILGEM İ-Class frigates in partnership with STM-TAIS. National frigates will be constructed concurrently across three private shipyards, ensuring timely delivery within 36 months.
We are also focused on STM500, our small submarine, which was designed by STM engineers using national resources, and started the test production of the pressure hull in recent months. This will mark the first time a private company in Turkiye has manufactured the pressure hull of a military submarine. STM500 is attracting considerable interest in different parts of the world, and we plan to release good news related to the production of STM500.
ADJ Today: What is your aspirations for this year’s LIMA? Could you share with our readers on the key objectives of STM for the show?
Guleryuz: STM attaches great importance to LIMA, as can be understood from our many years of participation. We consider LIMA to be one of the most important maritime and aerospace exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific region. We will take our place at the 16th outing of LIMA with our contemporary-designed naval ships, showcasing models of the six naval platforms we have developed to date under various projects.
Accordingly, we will be exhibiting the MİLGEM Ada-class Corvette, which continues to prove itself in international waters, and the İ-class frigate – the outcome of Turkiye’s first national frigate project. We will also be showcasing the Navy Fleet Tanker constructed by STM for the Pakistan Navy, which continues its operations. We will also be displaying to Malaysia the STM500, which is the outcome of the STM project to create Turkiye’s first small-sized national submarine based on national resources. Last but not least, we will be unveiling the CG-3100 Coast Guard and STM MPAC multi-purpose attack craft designs for the participants at LIMA.
Our intention is not only to showcase our products to the Asia-Pacific region, as we are also seeking to establish new collaborations in the market with focus on the naval platform segment. We continue to express our willingness to transfer technologies to the region, and to Malaysia in particular, with a view to establishing projects that will develop domestic industries and the region as a whole, thus contributing to the long friendly alliance and friendship of Turkiye and Malaysia. With this in mind, we hope to engage in productive meetings with military and civil authorities at LIMA.