Defence Turkey: Dear Cengiz Dede, firstly we would like to thank you for your time. As Onur Mühendislik you have been conducting business in three main areas composed of IP Based Voice Communication Systems, Air Traffic Control Systems and Meteorological Systems in both military and civil aspects. You are one of the most important players of the sector both as a system integrator and with your indigenous products. Could you briefly tell us about Onur Mühendislik’s journey in the sector since its establishment?
Onur Mühendislik was established in 1980. Our company began to acquire business experience in the defense industry during its first years through cooperating with consortiums and developed its integration capability by collaborating with foreign companies in various projects in the years to follow. At the end of this period, Onur Mühendislik became one of the integrator companies as a main contractor fulfilling the requirements of the Air Forces Command especially in air traffic control systems. Upon changing our company vision in 2005 on developing our own products, today our company turned into one of the very few companies having the competence to collaborate with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries as a main contractor.
Defence Turkey: You are indigenously developing the “IP Based Voice Communication Systems” and “Voice Recording and Replay Systems” and these systems are being utilized by the Turkish Armed Forces. Having such indigenous products holding the reference of the Turkish Army, what kind of advantages do they bring your company in the domestic and foreign markets?
Our competitors in IP based voice communication systems are large multinational companies. Our greatest advantage is, as the product we developed was originated in the last 5 years, the software and hardware components used are of advanced technology. Moreover, developing the software and hardware of the product indigenously provides us a great flexibility in the solutions we offer to our customers. Of course, as in all the indigenously developed products, this product provides a great cost advantage to its users throughout its complete lifecycle starting from its procurement, compared to its foreign equivalents.
Defence Turkey: In which projects have your IP VCS products been used until today?
The Air Defense Radio Network (ADRN) Project conducted for the Air Forces Command is currently under the site acceptance stage. When this project is accomplished, more than 175 operators will be administrating communication sources over the IP network by using our IP VCS product in order to manage the military airspace over Turkey. I can claim that this project is one of the notable “Network Enabled Capability” projects in respect of communication systems worldwide.
All the ground control stations of the ANKA-S UAV produced by TAI, as well as other UAV programs utilize Onur IP VCS system. In the beginning of 2015, we developed an internal communication solution to be used in naval platforms as a sub-product of our IP VCS product. At the same time, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries started requesting IP based voice communication systems in their RFPs.
While we continued our activities in defense and air traffic control areas, we participated in the “4 IP Based Voice Communication and Recording/Playback Systems for 4 Civil Airports” tender announced by the State Airports Authority (DHMİ) as the only domestic manufacturer we won the tender by leaving all the worldwide recognized VCS producers behind in price and technical competency aspects. This success proved that we are now one of the companies capable of selling VCS and Voice Recording System (VRS) not only in our country but also in the whole world dominated by brand new standards.
Defence Turkey: The first group of site acceptances, within the scope of the Air Defence Radio Network Project, were made in March. Meanwhile ADRN project’s expansion to the main air bases and alternate airdromes was initiated with Onur Mühendislik as the main contractor upon the resolution of the Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) on March 9, 2016. What would you like to say on the activities conducted regarding the ADRN project?
Certain operation centers were commissioned into operation as part of the ADRN Project and the site acceptance process of the others are underway. Within the scope of the Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) meeting on 9 March 2016, it was decided to initiate the negotiations with Onur Mühendislik for the expansion of the ADRN project to the main air bases and alternate airdromes run by the Air Forces Command. Our contract negotiations with SSM are continuing. We aim to share the news on the contract award soon with the esteemed press members and the public opinion.
I would also like to underline that the systems delivered within the scope of the ADRN project played a critical role in preventing the tragic events occurred in Turkey on July 15 and they operated their tasks smoothly. Turkish Air Forces will be reaching a network enabled communication capability ready for the future with the extension of these systems, which proved their competency in operational sense.
Defence Turkey: How does the Mobile and Fixed TACAN Procurement Project you have been conducting with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries proceed?
Within the scope of the Mobile/Fixed TACAN System Procurement Project we have been conducting as the main contractor with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, we will be realizing the Factory Acceptance Tests of the first group composed of 4 Fixed and 4 Mobile TACAN Systems between 19 September and 8 October. Upon the completion of the aforementioned acceptance tests, we will be providing the User and Maintenance Training regarding the first group systems to the personnel of the Air Forces Command. Throughout this process, we will be conducting the activities towards the installation of the infrastructure and support sub systems in the positions in which TACAN systems will be founded additionally. With the realization of Factory Acceptance Tests, training and infrastructure activities, by the end of 2016 we aim to finalize the field installation of the Mobile TACAN Systems and initiate the Site Acceptance activities.
Defence Turkey: You have accomplished the indigenous design and production of the Mobile Air Traffic Control Towers of the Air Forces Command and delivered them to the utilization of our Army. We observe that this product you released with your indigenous resources and engineering know-how has been filling an important gap in this area while bringing many opportunities with it. What are the domestic and foreign demands to this product?
As you also mentioned before, we developed our Mobile Air Traffic Control Tower (MATCT) product for the Air Forces Command for the first time and delivered it for their utilization. We are currently working on the technical specifications recently submitted by the Land Forces Command’s mobile tower demand as part of a project conducted by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. Hopefully, our product would be found appropriate within the scope of this project and our solution would be entering into another force’s inventory. We believe that our customers would be demanding this product more due to its flexible utilization scenarios and operational effectiveness when they begin using our MATCT product. Moreover, as the number of the airports with lower capacities and usage frequencies in our country increases, we believe that the MATCT and similar solutions would be finding more areas of utilization in these airports. In the international events and organizations we participate, especially the North African and Middle East countries showed interest to our MATCT solution. We are continuing our attempts towards the export activities within this context as well.
Defence Turkey: Directorate General of the State Airports Authority went out to a tender for enabling the air to ground communication between the air traffic control towers and air vehicles and other units and for providing the ground – voice communication at four airports in Turkey, titled “IP Based Voice Communication System and IP Based Voice Recording/ Playback System Procurement and Installation Tender” in October 2015 and you won the tender. What is the current status of the program?
The Voice Communication and Voice Recording / Playback System which is being developed for the State Airports Authority will be enabling the VHF/UHF air/ground voice communication between the ATC units and air vehicles while also enabling the ATC units’ ground voice communication with the other ATC units and the peripheral units (AIS, MET, fire brigade, etc.). Our systems will be installed into Adana, Gaziantep, Muş and Siirt airports and will be completely compatible with the EUROCAE ED137B standard developed by the EUROCONTROL for enabling the interoperability of all the IP based voice communication systems. The software development activities of the system have been completed and assembly and installation activities at the airports have been accomplished. Presently, on-the-job-trainings for the utilization of the system are being given at the airports. The temporary acceptance activities will be accomplished within September and the system will be put into service following the completion of the site acceptance activities.
Defence Turkey: By completing the ED-137-B standard compatibility activities concerning the VOIP based voice communication competency in the military area in 2015, you rendered your IP VCS product in alignment with the systems developed by the EUROCONTROL. And this achievement turned your company into one of the significant players competing in civil aviation. With the advantages you acquired through this development, which type of a position will you be taking in the upcoming period in the foreign markets as Onur Mühendislik?
Starting from 2015, we have taken very dramatic steps to align our VCS solution with the standards developed by the EUROCONTROL in Europe, especially in respect of the civil aviation criteria.
A standard known as ED-137 has been developed by the EUROCONTROL for enabling the interoperability of the IP based voice communication solutions in civil aviation applications in Europe. Manufacturers and users participate in the working groups formed for the development of this standard and the criteria are identified and/or updated with the support of all shareholders. We, as the Onur Mühendislik A.Ş., as a result of our know-how and experiences in IP based voice communication systems, were invited to EUROCONTROL’s WG-67 working group as a permanent member in 2015. After the competency we displayed during the working group meetings we were accepted to another group working on the VOIP security as a permanent member as well.
We are extremely proud to be a company not only endeavoring to set a standard in its products in Turkey, but also having a say in the improvement of this standard in the world. We are exerting great efforts for the export activities; we took part as a participant in the World Air Traffic Control Congress held in Madrid in 2016 where all the companies in Air Traffic Control sector attended. Within the scope of this event, we introduced our company to the sector and we had the opportunity to get to know the players. We aim to participate in the World ATM Congress in 2017, this time with a larger presence to represent Turkey.
Our negotiations with the African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries and our visits especially concerning the export activities will continue increasingly in the upcoming period.
Defence Turkey: You were one of the companies to respond to the Request for Information on the Ground Based Support System with the INDRA Navia company. How is this program proceeding at this stage? On the other hand you have quite powerful rivals in this tender. Could we state that the solution you will be releasing with the partnership you have with INDRA will be bringing you one step ahead of your competitors?
It would not be appropriate to claim anything clearly before the technical specifications are brought forth. But, I could claim that all two companies are extremely competent and experienced in developing products in this area. Since this is a very specific area, I presume that the number of the players will decrease when the final specifications are issued.
Defence Turkey: Following the Maritime Tactical Radio Network (DETTA) Project’s - to be developed with the Naval Forces Command- entry into force as of 1 August 2016, the Kick- Off meeting of the project was held on 24 August 2016. How will the project schedule proceed during the following period? Could you please inform us on the process?
Our design activities for the DETTA system will continue until the end of 2017. We plan to complete the development and product qualification processes within the following year and deliver the products to the Naval Forces Command in the beginning of 2019.
Defence Turkey: You need to keep your product range updated with the new generation applications and software at all times as a result of the technological developments in the world. Which type of a method are you adopting in your R&D activities for including new products to your product range and also for not lagging behind in the competition within this scope?
Our company regards R&D activities as one of its main strategic areas. When identifying the R&D contents and components, we examine the actual and envisioned labor productivity outputs of the company at the first stage. The gains or advantages acquired as a result of this activity are expected to bring forward productive and positive outputs for the company. Then again, these criteria alone do not determine whether the R&D subject is appropriate with the company’s strategies.
The criteria are evaluated as a whole and at the end, with the Cost-Benefit Analysis we assess whether the R&D study to be conducted is suitable for the company or not. We attach importance to conducting R&D activities in the areas in line with the company’s technical know-how. Our company adopting the principle of vertical specialization in its own area, attaches priority to this aspect in the selection of R&D topics. For the product/ service that would probably be released as a result of the R&D activities, a market analysis study and assessment on the compatibility with the company competencies are conducted prior to the application for the R&D. If the value acquired as a result of the R&D is suitable for the patent application then the procedure is launched and monitored.
Doubling the resource allocated to the R&D activities from the total company budget and launching applications towards supporting the R&D activities in the company’s internal procedures are among our medium term strategy plans.
We passed the final inspection for gaining our recently built facility the status of an “R&D Center” as well. I hope that as of the end of September we will be conducting our R&D studies at our new center.
Defence Turkey: What would you like to say on the capability and the capacity of the R&D building you plan to open to service soon?
Our new R&D Building which is currently under the examination and inspection of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Commerce will have a capacity for 300 persons. Furthermore, the facility will contain a conference hall, a social facilities, meeting halls in various sizes, laboratories and test centers as well.
Defence Turkey: Which type of a personnel structure do you have as Onur Mühendislik, with your staff composed of technicians, engineers and executive staff? Moreover, which kind of a growth do you plan for the next five-year period for establishing and maintaining a sustainable and efficient company structure?
Development and change is an endless and continuous cycle. The institutions and individuals capable of adapting themselves to the change become successful while others fail to live this dynamism and could not achieve sustainability. Throughout our history of 35 years, we have always invested in individuals, and in order to perceive our employees as members of our family, we have sincerely included them into all types of decision making processes, adopted them and let them adopt us. With our company culture, institutional structure, human resources and our policy and applications, we believe that we will become a preferred player by the sector and go for increasing our staff members in line with the increasing number of our projects in the upcoming period.
Defence Turkey: Dear Dede, at which point Onur Mühendislik will be positioning itself in Turkey and in the world market within the next 10- year period?
In the short term, we aim to become the most competent company in IP based voice communication systems area in the country. We also aim to accomplish exports to at least two new countries by the end of 2016. We have the North African countries in our target for conducting exports in the short term. Additionally, within the scope of our short-term targets, we also intend to double our turnover per our employees.
One of our goals for the medium term is to become one of the worldwide known companies in the area of IP based voice communication systems.
Defence Turkey: Lastly, is there any message you would like to convey to the readers of Defence Turkey magazine?
As engineering focused SME, Onur Mühendislik has been successfully fulfilling its tasks to provide domestic product development and services for our country’s defense industry and governmental institutions for over 35 years. We aim to continue our activities uninterrupted in our own area of activity while focusing on exports.