Turkey has emerged as a major arms exporter in Asia; After UAVs and warships, its 'Tiger' tanks have begun roaring into Indonesia.

In a sign of Turkey's expanding defense ties with Asian countries, the Indonesian military inducted medium-weight tanks into service with Turkey earlier this month.

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Prabowo Subianto, Indonesian Defense Minister and President-elect, announced by the Indonesian Embassy in Ankara. gluing Ten tanks – called Kaplan or Tiger in Turkish and Harimau in Bahasa – to the Indonesian army.

Indonesian company PT Pindad and Turkish manufacturer FNSS have collaborated to produce a contemporary medium weight tank that „reflects Indonesia's recognition of Turkish leadership in world military technology.”

Turkey and Indonesia signed an agreement in 2015 to develop and produce a medium-weight tank. The agreement included provisions for the design and manufacture of two prototype tanks and stipulated that intellectual property rights (IPR) would be owned by both parties. Prototype induction and testing began in 2017.

The first batch of tanks was delivered to the Indonesian Army in March 2022. The sale to Kaplan MT Indonesia marked the organization's first overseas sale. reports in the Turkish media.

File:Wikimedia Commons - Wikimedia Commons
KaplanMT – Wikimedia Commons

The Kaplan MT or Harimau is a modern medium weight tank designed to provide exceptional tactical mobility and high lethality.

According to For FNSS, „These versatile armored vehicles will bridge the gap between main battle tanks and light armored vehicles, providing a balanced solution for modern military operations.”

„Besides the tanks, Indonesia also has a joint production cooperation with the Turkish company TUSAS to produce 12 units of the ANKA drone, a next-generation unmanned combat aircraft,” the Indonesian embassy said in a statement.

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In August last year, Indonesia bought 12 surveillance and reconnaissance ANKA drones worth $300 million from Turkish Aerospace Industries. The 12-member drones will be operated by Indonesia's Air Force, Army and Navy.

Turkish expansion in the Asian market

The announcement is significant as it demonstrates the expansion of the Turkish footprint in the Asian market. Amid increased global demand and conflicts around the world, the Turkish defense industry has received a major boost and is leading the way with its land-based systems and drones.

Turkish defense companies offer weapons-development partnerships for military hardware including the fifth-generation Khan fighter jet, the Altay main battle tank, and the L400 light aircraft carrier—the world's first warship built to carry drones rather than aircraft. Asian countries are keen to reduce their dependence on imported weapons.

Experts believe that foreign customers are interested in Turkish land systems because Turkish manufacturers are „more willing” to develop and develop land systems with partners and friends.

In contrast, drone sales are at an all-time high due to their proven combat effectiveness in the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Flag TB2 – Wikipedia

Turkey is trying to expand its arms sales to Asian countries after entering the Middle East market. It recently delivered Pyrector TB2s to the Maldives, which the Indian Ocean island nation has already started flying. This important procurement marks the first military drone deployment by the Maldives National Defense Force, a calculated step to enhance surveillance and security capabilities at home.

Earlier this year, Ankara lost contracts worth US$920 million to supply 15 light fighter jets to Malaysia. South Korean companies won these contracts.

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EHA news on X: "1st batch of TAI T129 ATAK helicopters to be delivered by #Turkey to #Philippines in December.  ▪️The Philippine State News Agency quoted Air Force Chief Alan Paredes as saying,
TAI T129 ATAK Helicopters (via Platform X)

Nevertheless, the Philippines has purchased T129 tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopters (ATAK) from Turkey, and Malaysia has ordered Anka drones from Turkey. Ankara's failed sales efforts have not stopped it from wooing other Asian partners.

Turkey also managed to negotiate drone deals with the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan. Assembly of the Turkish Anga drone is scheduled to begin in Kazakhstan in 2024.

Pakistan is one of Turkey's most important partners in Asia. On its part, Pakistan continues to receive sophisticated equipment from Turkey. It has delivered three of the four Milgem naval corvettes under the 2018 contract.

Additionally, Islamabad has also acquired and is believed to have acquired the latest Akinci drones from Turkey to join Fifth generation Turkish Aerospace (TA) Khan fighter jet program.

TAI TF Khan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
TAI TF Khan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Another South Asian country is eyeing Turkey for its weapons. In the last five years, Bangladesh has bought arms from Turkey increased Dramatically. The country has purchased a variety of defense hardware from Turkey, including TB2 drones, armored vehicles, mine-protected vehicles, multi-dimensional missile defense systems, short-range missiles and Cobra armored personnel carriers.

As a member of NATO, Turkey provides customers with access to sophisticated defense technologies without the stringent requirements placed by exporters from the United States and Europe.

Additionally, customers may avoid the politically sensitive option of purchasing weapons from China or Russia, which runs the risk of triggering Western sanctions.

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