By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Malaysia and Turkey aim to reinforce their defence cooperation through the latter’s linked armed forces company — Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi AS — Turkey’s largest defence electronics company.
Aselsan, listed as the most valuable company on the Istanbul main stock exchange last year, set up its hub in Malaysia — Aselsan Malaysia Sdn Bhd — in July 2017.
The official said various plans, which include cooperation in joint research and development (R&D) programmes with local partners and universities, are in the pipeline.
“We would like to establish local design manufacturing capabilities and transfer our know-how. The starting of R&D projects would be most likely the tropicalisation of our remote weapon station for this region,” an Aselsan official told The Malaysian Reserve under the condition of anonymity at the 16th Defence Service Asia 2018 show in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The official said Aselsan is in talks with local universities on the R&D projects and targets to make progress within this year.
Aselsan had previously signed a memorandum of understanding on Feb 22, 2018, with the National Defence University of Malaysia and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology to locally develop remote-controlled weapon systems.
It is, however, unclear whether the tropicalisation programme is part of the agreement.
The source said the company is looking to make Malaysia one of its hubs in the South-East Asia region as Malaysia is situated in a strategic location and has good political relations with other countries.
On April 18, Aselsan signed a cooperation agreement with DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (Deftech), a wholly owned subsidiary of DRB-Hicom Bhd at the DSA 2018 exhibition, to collaborate in areas of unmanned ground vehicles, robotics, ground vehicles modernisation programme as well as remote-controlled weapon systems.
Aselsan will also continue to deliver the 30mm remote controlled stabilised naval gun to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency for the New Generation Patrol Crafts.
“Turkey and the Malaysian government have a close relationship, and because of this, we want to contribute to the Malaysian defence industry. There will be more investments, more projects on land vehicles and naval vessels,” the official said.
At the biennial defence trade show, another company under the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation — Deftech and Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc (TAI) — introduced the Anka medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle to the local market.
The exchanged industrial collaboration agreement (ICA) between Deftech and TAI took place at the Deftech Pavilion, witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, on the first day of the DSA 2018.
The ICA is to partly fulfil the strategic requirements of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, as well as to promote the technology to other potential defence bodies in Malaysia.