Turkey’s largest defense industry project in Qatar officially opened on Nov. 5.
Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and Qatari Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah attended the inauguration ceremony of the AW 139 Helicopter Simulation Flight Training Facility.
Earlier on Nov. 5, Canikli was received by his Qatari counterpart at the Al-Udeid Air Base, southwest of the capital Doha.
During the ceremony, Canikli gave a presentation on the facility, which was built by the Turkish state-run air defense and military software company HAVELSAN.
“The painful experiences we [Turkey] have had countless times has taught us that you cannot be a mere spectator in defense technologies. If not for our efforts over the last 10 years, Turkey would have had great difficulty resisting the attacks today. Our allies have not supplied us with these technologies in our fight against terrorism even though we were willing to pay for them,” Canikli said.
“One of the recent examples of these difficulties is the S-400 Air Defense System, which we are in urgent need of. We are fighting against the world’s three bloodiest terror groups all at once and we are conducting our operations mostly through weapons developed by Turkey. We have made progress but we have to improve ourselves even more, working together,” he added, particularly praising Turkey’s advances in drone technology.
Following the inauguration, Canikli and al-Attiyah inspected the facility together with other military delegations.
The project was signed on May 10, 2013, with the aim of meeting the needs of AW 139 helicopter pilots and operators in the Qatari Air Forces. Before the end of 2016, the project moved to Qatar.
So far 55 pilots operating in the Qatari Air Forces have been given 550 hours of training through this system and 40 engineers have served for three years on the project, which cost $39 million.