Winning: Turkish Marketing Miracle


August 7, 2020: In July 2020 Turkish missile manufacturer Roketsan successfully tested its new Atamaca anti-ship missile, which hit a target 220 kilometers distant. Atamaca is entering service at by the end of 2020 as a replacement for the similar 1980s era American- made Harpoon. Atamaca will be marketed as an improved and cheaper Harpoon.

Roketsan has developed and marketed a growing number of similar weapons. For example, there is the 70mm Cirit laser guided missile, the larger laser or infrared sensing guided Umtas anti-tank missile and the Teber laser guided bomb kits (similar to the U.S. JDAM, kits that turn an unguided bomb into a laser guided one).

Cirit is basically a 14 kg (31 pound) 70mm rocket with a laser seeker, a 3 kg (6.6 pound) warhead, and a range of eight kilometers when fired from the air. Laser designators on a helicopter, or with troops or on the ground, are pointed at the target and the laser seeker in the front of the 70mm missile homes in on the reflected laser light. U.S. warplanes and gunships use American made APKWS 70mm weapons which are similar to Cirit. Umtas is a 37.5 kg (83 pound) missile that is very similar to the American Hellfire.

Roketsan products are part of Turkey’s efforts to reduce dependence on foreign sources for weapons and military services. Since the 1990s the government has been supporting defense related firms and encouraging the creation of exportable items (weapons, equipment and services). The Turkish military is a major customer for these weapons, as are Moslem-majority nations that will by Roketsan weapons in place of American or European products because Roketsan is a Moslem owned firm in a Moslem-majority nation.

This marketing strategy has worked and sales to Moslem majority nations keep increasing. The Turks have a good military reputation and are currently using many of their own weapons in Syria or northern Iraq (against Turkish Kurd separatists), which makes these weapons “combat proven.”


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