Raytheon expects $4 billion Turkish missile contract

Patriot is a battle-proven missile system used by numerous countries around the world.

A US team led by Raytheon is hoping to win the international competition for Turkey’s long-range-missile and air-defense systems. At least $2 billion of the project would be done by Turkish companies locally, says Mike Boots, Turkey Patriot program manager at Raytheon, implying that the price of the US systems could be around $4 billion.

The Turkish defense industry could earn benefits worth over $2 billion from Raytheon Co.’s contracts worldwide if a U.S. group that includes the firm wins a Turkish tender to help provide defense systems to the country.

The U.S. partnership of Raytheon, a top missile maker, and Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense company, has offered their Patriot air and missile defense systems in the tender, which seeks to provide for Turkey’s long-range-missile and air-defense systems, or T-Loramids. The systems fire both Lockheed Martin’s Patriot Advance Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Raytheon’s GEM.T anti-air missiles.

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

Mike Boots, the Turkey Patriot program manager at Raytheon, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday that his company had 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 have 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,” Boots said.

“If we win the Turkish contract, the local partners will already 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 will already be experienced in making their parts,” Boots said.

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 in advance 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 and the supplier’s quality and policies.

Turkey’s T-Loramids program is not a commercial tender, but Ankara is instead holding rival government-to-government talks with the United States, Italy, France, Russia and China. Turkey’s national air defense systems are designed against both ballistic missiles and enemy aircraft.

Potential problems

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

Some Western governments and experts suggest that if, for example, China wins the Turkish competition, it inadvertently may gain access to NATO information because of the connection of Turkish systems with NATO systems, and this may compromise the alliance’s security.

But Turkish procurement chief Murat Bayar earlier this month said Turkey had no intention of expelling Russia or China from the Turkish air defense competition.

“One explanation is that Turkey itself doesn’t plan to select the Chinese or Russian alternatives, but is still 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 leaders’ summit meeting in Lisbon in November, the Western alliance will create a collective missile system against potential incoming ballistic missiles from rogue countries. Turkey agreed to the decision only after the alliance accepted a Turkish request that Iran or other countries would not be specifically mentioned as potential sources of threat.

NATO now seeks to deploy special X-band radars in Turkish territory for early detection of missiles launched from the region.

Ideally, in the event of such a launch, U.S.-made SM-3 interceptors – based on U.S. Aegis destroyers to be deployed in the eastern Mediterranean and possibly in Romania – would then be fired to hit the incoming missile mid-flight.

Turkey’s national air defense system will be independent and separate from the NATO missile shield. But since 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.

Umit Enginsoy, HDN