Rome (UPI) Mar 9, 2011
Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica is vying for a prominent role in Turkey's lucrative defense market, seeking partnership with an umbrella group that houses several top Turkish defense manufacturers, reports say.
Defense News reported that Finmeccanica was striving to seal a global deal with Turkish defense officials.
Citing remarks by Finmeccanica commercial director, Paolo Pozzessere, the report said Finmeccanica wanted to dedicate "special attention" to the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, focusing on defense electronics.
"We regard Turkish companies, particularly those of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation our main partners," Pozzessere said.
Italian interest in the Turkish defense market isn't new.
Finmeccanica subsidiaries, including AgustaWestland and Telespazio, have already won contracts worth billions of dollars for attack helicopters and for Turkey's first military satellite.
Finmeccanica's annual revenue in Turkey exceeds $270 million even before new agreements.
Among Finmeccanica's subsidiaries and related companies, Alenia Aeronautica, is vying to make Turkey a partner for the next Eurofighter Typhoon. That deal would be worth several billion dollars.
Pozzessere said his company's main objective was to retain its position in the Turkish defense market and "use its potential to increase penetration into countries in the region," Defense News reported.
The Turkish Armed Forces Foundation is an organization specializing in developing and funding future defense investments. Its members include Aselsan, Havelsan, Isbir Elektrik, Roketsan and Tusas Aerospace Industries -- all defense manufacturers specializing in a wide range of fields from electronic technologies to aircraft and rocket production.
All rank among Turkey's top defense companies.
In recent years, Italy has become Turkey's biggest defense supplier next to the United States. If it wins a portion of the deals it is vying for and locks in associations with the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, Finmeccanica will cement its prominent presence in the Turkish defense market, analysts argue.
In November, the Italian conglomerate opened a representative office in Turkey.
That same month, Finmeccanica and Turkey's procurement office signed a $210 million deal for the company's urgent production of nine T12 attack helicopters for the Turkish Army.
AgustaWestland is competing with U.S. company Sikorsky Aircraft for the joint development and production of Turkey's next-generation utility helicopters, a deal worth around $4 billion for 109 platforms.
And in the long term, Alenia Aeronautica is hoping to sell advanced air trainer aircraft to the Turkish air force.
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