Oto Melera Aims to Cooperate with Turkish Partners for Rising Central Asia Markets
Defence TurkeyIn terms of production, investment, export and international projects, how could you evaluate the improvements in figures in 2011? How do you assess Oto Melara position in 2012? What are 2012 targets?
The 2011 has been a satisfactory year for Oto Melara where all the objectives of the Company in terms of revenue and profits have been achieved notwithstanding the critical situation of the international economy that has caused the postponement and shrinking of several programs. In 2012 we are expecting a further growth of our position in the market both in terms of revenues and acquisitions in consideration of important programs in place with the Italian administration and a number of opportunities identified in the export market.
Most important targets for 2012 are given the finalization of the third tranche of the acquisition of the 8X8 VBM Freccia, equipped with the HITFIST 25mm turret, by the Italian Army and the activation of the next phases of the program Vulcano that will include as well the possibility to extend the participation to one or more other international partners.
What are the Naval guns you have manufactured for military forces ? Would you assess your position in the defence industry market and your objectives in the military areas in 2012?
Our naval guns production covers all calibres from 12.7mm naval turrets up to the 127/64LW naval gun and our systems are today in service with over fifty navies in the world. Oto Melara is today perceived as the leader in the manufacturing of medium caliber naval guns and our target for 2012 is to consolidate our leadership in this important market. Other objectives for 2012 are to increase our sales of small caliber naval guns and to find a strategic partner for the penetration of new land systems markets.
Defence Turkey:Could you please enlighten us about your R&D programmes and new technologies ?
Oto Melara is continuously investing in the future and in the development of technologically advanced solutions for the Italian Navy and for all the other customers. The development of the Vulcano technology for the 127/64 LW naval gun allows to reach today results in naval fire support that a few years ago were considered just a dream: such as to fire al 100Km with metric precision and a rate of fire above 30 rds/min. Today Vulcano technology is reality. The 127/64 LW gun is onboard the first Italian Navy FREMM frigate and soon will be onboard the German Navy F125 frigates. The Vulcano ammunition is successfully completing its development phase and next year will be fielded in its BER (Ballistic Extended Range Configuration).
In the field of 76/62 technology STRALES system and DART guided ammunitions are today a reality, providing outstanding defense capability for the ship against maneuvering air and surface threats. The 76/62SR STRALES will equip Italian Navy FREMM frigates and the Cavour aircraft carrier while a contract for upgrading the 76/62 Compact gun to STRALES configuration is in place with an export customer.
Last summer we have completed the qualification of our 76mm 3AP microwave programmable fuze with the Italian Navy and we have signed an important contract with the French administration for the supply of 4000 pre-fragmented 76mm rounds equipped with the same 3AP fuze. This fuze has the capability to be programmed during the firing, according to the type of target, in proximity, time or impact modes and has proven an unrivalled efficiency in resisting to EM disturbances and sea cluttering, allowing for outstanding kill probability rates.
Again, in the field of 76mm ammunitions we have launched in 2011 the new Vulcano 76 development program aimed to extend to this caliber the Vulcano technology already available for the 127mm naval and 155mm land ammunition. We are much excited by this program that when completed will provide Oto Melara?s 76/62 naval guns and 76/62 Draco land turrets with an extraordinary flexibility of employment.
Defence Turkey:Could you please inform us about your new programme Vulcano 76 ? What kind of capabilities will naval platforms achive with Vulcano 76? About this product are you planning to have any cooperation with Turkey?
Vulcano 76 is a study and development program thar Oto Melara has started driven by the success obtained by Vulcano technology in the field of 127mm naval and 155mm land applications. Vulcano technology allows for both extended range and metric precision firing capability, a feature that is destined to change the concept of naval gun fire support in the future littoral warfare scenario. As for the Vulcano 127, Oto Melara will provide two types of ammunitions: one 76mm Ballistic Extended Range non guided ammunition and a 76mm Guided Long Range ammunition allowing for doubling the 76/62 gun maximum range with metric precision accuracy. Considering the number of 76/62 guns installed onboard the Turkish Navy ship we believe that this technology will provide an extraordinary improvement of their naval fire support capability.
Vulcano 76 will also have an important role in the future land applications, providing Oto Melara 76/62 Draco land turret with up to 40Km metric precision fire capability and completing the multirole characteristics of this innovative systems that can be effectively used in anti-air, C-RAM, direct firing and fire support warfare scenarios.
Oto Melara is open to cooperations with the Turkish Industry. We as well believe that Turkey and other markets that can be accessed together with the cooperation of the Turkish Industry could be interested in the 76/62 Draco turret and we are open to establish cooperation also for the production of the turret itself which sees an elevated rate of technology involved
Defence Turkey:You have successful cooperation with Turkish Naval Commands and Turkish Defence Companys for many years. You have signed a contract with Turkish Shipyard DEARSAN for to supply 16 twin 40/70 mm naval gun systems for The New Patrol Boats. Would you assess improvements of the projects?
Since decades the cooperation between Oto Melara and Turkish Naval Commands has proved to be strong and beneficial for both parties. Up to now we have successfully supplied the Turkish Navy with various types of systems of our product portfolio, from small caliber 30mm and 40mm naval mountings up to the 76/62 Compact naval gun which is now in service with more than 20 units. Today the Turkish Navy represents for us one of our most significant references within the family of the 76/62 and 40L70 users.
Defence Turkey:An order for further four gun systems of the 40 mm Dual Barrel Forward Gun was awarded to Oto Melara by the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industry (SSM) to equip the Turkish Coast Guard patrol boats. You have completed first and second deliveries. Could you please enlighten us this project in details?
The contract for the supply of 4 40L70 Twin Compact guns to the Turkish Coast Guard is significant because confirms the reliance of the Turkish customer in this product following the important contract signed in 2007 for the supply of 16 systems of the same type destined to the Turkish Navy New Type Patrol Boats. These two contract are proceeding well with 6 systems already delivered to Dearsan and RMK Marine, the two shipyards respectively in charge of the New Type Patrol Boats and Cost Guard Patrol Boats contracts.
Defence Turkey:The Contract between Oto Melara and The Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industry (SSM) for one 76/62 Compact gun system to equip the MILGEM second ship prototype. Could you please give us some information about improvements of the project and in addition do you have any negotiation with SSM for supplying the gun systems to other national ships?
The contract was signed with SSM in September 2009 and the gun is now ready for Factory Acceptance Tests and delivery. This project makes us proud of the excellent relations established with SSM and the Turkish Navy and opens for the possibility to have the 76/62 naval gun installed on the future series of MILGEM class ships. Furthermore, the project sees for the first time our 76/62 gun equipped with a new Turkish designed stealth shield witnessing the spirit of cooperation between Oto Melara and the Turkish Industry.
Defence Turkey:. Landing Ship Tank (LST) and Landing Platform Dockship (LPD) programmes are upcoming. We know that The Turkish Navy is also particularly interested in the new 40mm Single Fast Forty gun. Do you have any operations to participate in this programme?
We are currently finalizing the negotiations with the ADIK Shipyard for the supply of 4 40L70 Fast Forty guns destined to equip the new LST ships. The Fast Forty is a technologically advanced system, under both mechanical and electrical point of view, allowing for a wide flexibility of use. The rate of fire of the single barrel can reach up to 450 rds/min, a performance that no other system of the same caliber can equal.
Regarding the LPD program, at the moment we are in contact with the various shipyards involved in the tender who are considering to include the 40mm Fast Forty in their scope of supply.
Defence Turkey:- Will you set up new partnerships with Turkish Defence Industry in the future time?
The cooperation between Oto Melara and the Turkish Industry has started some years ago and has improved constantly during time. Today Oto Melara is purchasing from Turkey many subassemblies and parts of 76/62 and 40mm guns destined to the export market, including rough milled 76/62 gun barrels and mechanical/electrical components, but also weapons like the 7.62mm MG3 machine guns for the Hitrole Light turrets.
There is a solid cooperation already established with important Turkish Industries operating both in the defense and civil sector such as MKEK, FNSS, Havelsan Technology Radar, HEMA and BG Honuk and with shipyards like DEARSAN and RMK Marine. Furthermore, Oto Melara is foreseeing to enhance its cooperation with the Turkish Industry in the near future considering also the possibility of a joint venture with a local partner for starting a production in the Country not limited to the demand of the Turkish administration but also for the export markets. A partnership with a Turkish firm would also represent for Oto Melara the gate for better accessing the rising Central Asia markets.
10- Finally would you like to add some information for our readers?
As already said before, Oto Melara has invested a lot in technology and the results are now tangible. Products such as Vulcano and DART ammunitions are available for being offered for the upcoming naval programs. We are looking at the future TF2000 Turkish frigates and are willing to cooperate with the Turkish Industry in order to bring the Vulcano technology onboard these ships.
We are now looking for qualified partners willing to help us in the production, development and in finding together with us new market opportunities. Turkey is today one of Oto Melara most important customers. Now we look at Turkish Industry and we strongly believe that it will become one of our best partners in the near future.
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