T-LORAMIDS: Putting Turkey’s Missile Defense Tender in Context

While Turkey mismanaged the T-LORAMIDs missile defense tender, the selection of a Chinese firm was not intended to send a signal to the West. The evidence strongly suggests that Ankara chose the system because of its emphasis on coproduction arrangements for military procurements. Turkey has pursued this policy since 1985. Below is a selection of the open-source reporting about the tender process. Three take-aways:

1) Ankara has to get its act together. Turkey’s tenders are habitually mismanaged, over ambitious in scope, and, almost always, have to be revised after numerous delays. As a result, Turkey has gained a reputation as a fickle negotiating partner with unrealistic goals.

2) The selection of a Chinese systems is actually a validation of the NATO security arrangement. If Turkey were REALLY concerned about its security, it would have chosen the American or European system. Instead, Ankara reasoned that it can rely on NATO systems, while it begins its decades long effort to build its own missile defense system.

3) The decision was based on money. MBDA offered full technology transfer, but, in all likelihood, could not have matched China’s low price.

Two outstanding questions:

1) Will China profit from the deal, or did it purposefully undercut the other suppliers to help establish itself as a hi-tech arms exporter?

2) Did the SSM know that the Chinese firm was under US sanctions? 

Issues not addressed in this data pull:

1) Turkey has plans to launch 16 satellites. Some of which are expected to have early warning capability. These satellites will then be networked with Turkey’s own drones and AWACs to bolster the HQ-9 missile defense system. These systems are expected to be deployed and operational by 2023. As part of this program, Turkey intends to build a satellite launch vehicle to place these satellites in low-earth orbit. If implemented, Turkey would not need NATO systems. (Remember how I said Turkey needs to get its act together and actually propose implementable military plans?) 


“Turkey has accelerated efforts to acquire different sorts of missile defense systems to deter a possible attack on its homeland … Also in March, the SSM issued an RfI for the acquisition of four long-range air and missile defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) to meet the requirements of the Air Force Command,” [Zaman reported.] Zaman said April 17 that 13 companies had “declared their intention to respond” to the RfIs. Among the corporations interested in the potential Turkish market for BMD systems were Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon from the United States. Zaman said the three U.S. aerospace giants had already “reportedly teamed up to meet Turkish requirements for Patriot PAC-3s.” However, the newspaper said that China’s CPMIEC and Israel Aerospace Industries were also interested in selling systems. Turkish companies that had responded included Aselsan, FNSS and Roketsan, the report said. (“BMD Watch: BMD firms seek Turkish market.” UPI. (April 25, 2007 Wednesday 2:05 PM EST ): 810 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)


Yet despite the improved atmosphere between Ankara and Tehran, Turkey is also wary of a nuclear Iran upsetting the fragile regional power balance and has embarked on a competition for the supply of four to five batteries of Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems known as the Turkish Long-Range Air and Missile Defense Systems (or T-LORAMIDS) … The primary focus of the Turkish procurement arm, the Turkish Defense Industries Undersecretariat (SSM), has been to expand and improve the country’s domestic defense-technological industrial base. A chief means of doing this has been through the contractual inclusion of significant offsets and technology transfers for Turkish industry where acquisition projects are concerned. Recent contracts awarded to South Korean firms for the basic jet trainer and new-generation main battle tank are examples of this approach. “Because of its unstable neighborhood and the advancing scope of its strategic interests, Turkey will remain a significant shopper on the global defense market,” Darling added. “While the goal of the SSM is to eventually achieve self-supply for 50 percent of Turkish armed forces acquisitions, the present reality is that this remains a future vision. In the meantime, with the U.S. no longer regarded by Ankara as the sole-source for its defense hardware, the market for those foreign firms willing to meet the SSMs contractual demands remains strong.” (“Unbound Turkey: A Rising Regional Powerbroker.” Space Daily. (February 29, 2008 Friday ): 871 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

US Defense Sec Robert Gates urges Turkey to consult with NATO over its planned procurement of long-range air- and missile-defense systems (T-LORAMIDS); acquisition is approximately $4 billion for around 12 systems; US denies speculation it is negotiating with Turkey over deploying missiles on its soil as part of its proposed ballistic missile defense shield. (Sariibrahimoglu, Lale. “US URGES TURKEY TO CONSULT WITH NATO ON T-LORAMIDS.” JANE’S DEFENCE WEEKLY. (March 26, 2008 Wednesday ): 60 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

the SSM rejected the Russian proposal to sell S-400 through interstate negotiations and invited Russia to participate in the tender. Rosoboronexport received specifications for the project prepared by the SSM but did not provide a response to it and proposed organization of direct interstate negotiations on sale of S-400 instead of this. Simultaneously, SSM rejected the Russian proposal to sell S-300 production of which would be stopped in 2015. (“RUSSIA PROPOSED TURKEY TO HAVE DIRECT INTERSTATE NEGOTIATIONS ON SALE OF AIR DEFENSE MISSILE SYSTEMS S-400 TRIUMPH.” DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia). (July 25, 2008 Friday ): 205 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

Turkey accelerated its various missile projects last Thursday when the country’s military procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for the Defence Industry (SSM), issued two separate tenders for the acquisition of low and medium altitude air defence missile systems . . . Turkey also plans to purchase up to 12 long-range air and missile defence systems (T-LORAMIDS) at a cost of $4 billion, a project for which US, Chinese and Israeli companies are competing. Russia obtained an RFI for the project but wanted to produce the S-400 or S-300 missile systems as a sole competitor. Turkey has turned down the Russian proposal, advising Russian state-owned Rosoboronexport to bid in the tender. (“Daily says Turkey speeds up military acquisition projects.” BBC Monitoring Europe – Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring. (September 29, 2008 Monday ): 1007 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)


China and Russia have declined to bid for Turkey’s roughly $1 billion long-range air- and missile-defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) project; only Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have submitted bids so far; China and Russia had both sought to conduct exclusive state-to-state negotiations over acquisition, but Turkey insisted on making tender competitive. (Sariibrahimoglu, Lale. “CHINA AND RUSSIA WITHHOLD BIDS FOR TURKEY’S T-LORAMIDS PROJECT.” JANE’S DEFENCE WEEKLY. (December 9, 2009 Wednesday ): 58 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

The French and Italian consortium Eurosam has decided to bid in Turkey s multibillion-dollar long-range missile tender.
Murad Bayar, from the Turkish Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), told the media early this week that Eurosam is to offer its Aster 30 model for the missile tender. Turkey agreed to allow Eurosam to bid in the project after France s intense lobbying activities convinced Ankara to soften its restrictions on French defense firms over Paris recognition of events that took place in 1915 under the Ottoman Empire as genocide of Armenians, a claim that Turkey denies. (“Turkey : European manufacturer to enter Turkish missile tender.” TendersInfo. (February 8, 2010 Monday ): 408 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)


Turkey has extended deadline to March 1 from Jan 15 for company submissions for its long-range air- and missile-defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) acquisition project; move allows new competitors to enter fray, including Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium expected to bid Aster 30; Russia is also expected to offer advanced version of S-300 instead of newer S-400. (Sariibrahimoglu, Lale. “TURKEY SETS NEW DEADLINE FOR T-LORAMID BIDS.” JANE’S DEFENCE WEEKLY. (February 10, 2010 Wednesday ): 60 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

Mbda, the multinational and global leader in missile systems, today signed a framework agreement in Ankara with several Turkish Defence companies (including Aselsan, Roketsan and Ayesas). This was announced today from a press conference in Ankara by Mbda managing director Antonio Perfetti. Perfetti explained that the agreement regards the possible future collaboration between Mbda (the first fully integrated European company) and local firms. This collaboration will become a fact if Mbda – which is controlled by the three main shareholders in the aeronautics and defence sector: Bae Systems (37.5%), Eads (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%) – will win contracts for the supply of T-Loramids missile systems. The managing director added that the agreement specifies the precise role of Mbda in possible collaboration projects, as well as a timeline for this collaboration and a kind of clause for additional collaboration in other sectors. (“ITALY-TURKEY: MBDA SIGNS FRAMEWORK DEAL WITH TURKISH FIRMS.” ANSA English Corporate Service. (November 11, 2010 Thursday 7:50 PM CET ): 160 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

MBDA –a missile developer and manufacturer with operations in France, Britain, Germany, and Italy– offers Turkey a complete freedom of technology transfer in case of a cooperation. MBDA and French company Thales are partners in Eurosam. Eurosam is the industrial prime contractor and system design authority for the development, production, marketing and sales of a range of medium-range naval and ground-launched air-defence missiles, systems that were developed under contract from the French and Italian governments. (“ARMS FIRM MBDA HOPEFUL TO BUILD TURKEY’S AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM.” Anadolu Agency (AA). (December 6, 2010 Monday ): 501 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)


Nicholas de Larrinaga Eurosatory 2012 article notes US signs agreements making Roketsan sole-source global provider to Raytheon of Patriot Advanced Capability 2 control sections and sole-source global provider to Lockheed Martin of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missile single canisters, which may help US land upcoming T-Loramids missile defense contract worth between $1 billion and $4.5 billion (“US INKS ROKETSAN DEAL IN BID TO BOOST T-LORAMIDS OFFERING.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. (June 20, 2012 Wednesday ): 68 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)


A military appropriation meeting attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s top brass on Thursday yet again delayed a decision over a long-range air defense system, for which local developers and four international companies were bidding … The Thursday meeting of the Defense Industry Implementation Committee (SSIK) lasted five-and-a-half hours — one of the longest so far — and was meant to select a winner for a proposed missile defense system, but the committee delayed any final decision on the hefty $4 billion contract. In a statement released after the meeting, the SSIK said it would hold additional meetings to select the company for the missile defense system. The main competitors for the tender are the Patriot missile long-range air defense system, produced by US partners Raytheon and Lockheed Martin; Russia’s Rosoboronexport with its S-400 system; China’s HQ9, exported as FD-2000; and Italian-French Eurosam with its SAMP/T Aster 30. (“Gov’t undecided on missile contract but favors local developers.” Cihan News Agency (CNA) – English. (January 4, 2013 Friday ): 680 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

Despite high expectations, Turkey did not pick a winner in its six-year long-range air and missile defence systems (T-Loramids) project during a meeting on Jan. 3, held by the country’s top decision making body on weapons procurement, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Instead, Erdogan used his influence in a decision for the co-development of the missiles in cooperation with one of the bidding companies in the T-Loramids programme. I have to say that a decision to co-develop the missiles is a very aggressive policy, taking into consideration Turkey’s existing relatively weak defence industry base. However, it does not mean that Turkey cannot co-develop a long-range missile in the long term and that the most important factor is to start somewhere instead of taking no action to this end. (“Paper views Turkey’s decision to co-develop long-range missiles.” BBC Monitoring Europe – Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring. (January 29, 2013 Tuesday ): 861 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

Turkey is abandoning $4 billion buy of T-Loramids surface-to-air (SAM) missile systems in favor of co-developing SAM system with one of four bidders — US’s Patriot, Europe’s Aster 30 SAMP/T, Russia’s S-300 and China’s HQ-9 systems. (“TURKEY ABANDONS USD4 BILLION T-LORAMIDS SAM SYSTEM BUY.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. (January 30, 2013 Wednesday ): 66 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

 Turkey’s western allies look puzzled by a looming decision by Ankara to select Chinese long-range anti-missile and air defence systems which they think cannot be integrated into the NATO-sponsored early warning architecture currently deployed on Turkish soil.”That would certainly leave many of us speechless,” said one senior diplomat from a NATO country. “Turkey has every right to choose its own air defence system but we do not quite understand the logic of opting for a Chinese system with no interoperability with the existing [NATO] assets.” A NATO ally defence attache in Ankara said that deploying a Chinese air defence system to protect Turkish airspace could have political repercussions. “Questioning Turkey’s geopolitical trajectory would then be legitimate,” he said. The contenders’ off-the-shelf bids would remain valid, but the country’s procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), would ask bidders to submit parallel, co-production solutions. Erdogan had given orders for the launch of feasibility studies on the “potential co-production” of the system. The same month, SSM wrote to the bidders and asked them to send letters of intent for any co-production deal. The bidders are a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defence system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; China’s CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp.), offering its HQ-9; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30. T-LORAMIDS, has been designed to counter both enemy aircraft and missiles. Turkey presently has no long-range air-defence systems. (“NATO officials concerned at Turkey’s move to buy Chinese arms – paper.” BBC Monitoring Europe – Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring. (July 2, 2013 Tuesday ): 804 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

Turkey is considering adopting a Chinese air defence system that is incompatible with its existing Nato-sponsored early warning architecture, in a development that has disturbed Western allies. But the deal may become a win-win option for both Beijing and Ankara, say analysts. Beijing has offered several enticements to encourage Ankara to buy its long-range anti-missile HQ-9 air defence system, according to Hurriyet Daily News, a leading English newspaper in Turkey. Chief among those is a lower price than the three rival tenders. US partnership Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are offering the Patriot air defence system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport its S-400; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam their SAMP/T Aster 30 system. In January, Turkey restructured its US$4 billion surface-to-air missile programme, dubbed T-Loramids, which had originally been constructed as an off-the-shelf purchase consisting of radar, launchers and intercept missiles. As a Nato member equipped with the US’ Patriot air defence systems, Turkey has been urged by its Western allies to remove China and Russia from its bidding list for air defence projects because of differences in their systems. But Ankara has ignored the warnings, and has publicly declared its interest in adopting the Chinese HQ-9 system. (“Turkey weighs up China’s missiles; Beijing hopes to beat rival tenders from the US, Russia, France and Italy to provide Ankara arms to build domestic defence shield.” South China Morning Post. (July 5, 2013 Friday ): 536 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)

NATO member Turkey’s selection of a Chinese missile system for its long-term, long-range missile and aerial defense program, code-named T-Loramids, has highly irritated and frustrated the US, which has been advising Ankara not to opt for a non-NATO missile system that it said would cause interoperability problems, Western defense industry sources based in Ankara told Today’s Zaman. (“Turkish selection of Chinese missile system angers US.” Cihan News Agency (CNA). (September 27, 2013 Friday ): 1001 words. Nexis. Web. Date Accessed: 2013/09/30.)


About aaronstein1

I am an Istanbul based PhD Candidate a King's College London.
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2 Responses to T-LORAMIDS: Putting Turkey’s Missile Defense Tender in Context

  1. Pingback: Background On Turkey/PRC Missile Defense Deal | Fortuna's Corner

  2. Pingback: Chinese Missile Deal Leads to Rift With Turkey’s Western Partners | Security Assistance Monitor

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