By Gokhan Ergocun and Mustafa Calkaya
An Italian firm active in aviation and defense plans to move into new markets with the help of partnerships with Turkish companies, according to a top official at the firm.
Global high-tech firm Leonardo plans to work together with Turkish small- and-medium-sized enterprises (SME), Marco Buratti, Leonardo's senior vice president for international marketing and strategic campaigns, said on Tuesday.
In the wake of major Turkish civil and military projects, including the T129 helicopter, Meltem 3 coastal patrol program, naval sensors and defense systems, and more recently the Gokturk satellite program, Leonardo is working on new collaborations, he told Anadolu Agency.
"Leonardo helps provide security for the Vessel Traffic Management System and the coastline and seaports, and cooperate with the Turkish defense industry to supply and adapt products, to manufacture airframes, and co-develop new products."
The firm hopes to raise its joint investments and get into new markets alongside Turkey through strengthening its technological partnership with Turkish companies such as SMEs, he stressed.
"Numerous SMEs are already working indirectly on Leonardo programs in Turkey through their collaboration with companies such as the Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) and defense company Aselsan among others, and this constitutes an excellent basis for further collaborations," he said.
He added that Leonardo would look to partner with local SMEs active in industry and also involved in high-tech research, like the ones in the innovation hubs in the capital Ankara as well as Istanbul.
The firm aims to boost its investments in Turkey and eyes potential projects, he said, adding:
"As part of this, Leonardo proposed to Turkey its Liaison and General Purpose Aircraft tender with its C-27J aircraft."
He underlined that Leonardo would concentrate its work on a variety of potential programs, included helicopters and other projects.
Leonardo -- previously known as Finmeccanica -- is a global aerospace, defense and security firm which does €1.4 billion in R&D annually. The firm, set to announce its five-year industrial plan by the end of January, expects to take part in more projects with high-tech products.
With a four-decade history of doing business in Turkey and 250 offices and industrial plants worldwide, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in four domestic markets (Italy, the U.K., the U.S. and Poland) and employs over 45,000 people.