Turkish Win Leaves China’s Radar Industry Wanting More

 - November 8, 2013, 10:10 AM
All of the radars depicted in this graphic shown by Poly Technologies at the recent Word Radar Fair in Beijing are for sale, according to the Chinese. (Photo: Reuben F. Johnson)

Buoyed by the recent win of Turkey’s long-range aerial and missile defense system (T-Loramids) tender, China’s radar and defense electronics industry is pushing to enter more markets outside its traditional customer base. These include nations in Latin America–such as Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Chile–as well as some of the former Soviet republics.

Unlike Russia, where Rosoboronexport has a monopoly on the sale of all defense equipment abroad, the PRC has several defense export trading companies. China Precision Machinery Import-Export (CPMIEC) is one of those, and was responsible for the FT-2000 campaign in Turkey. But China Electronics Technology (CETC) has been equally active in these new markets.

CETC and Poly Technologies, another well known trading company, were both major exhibitors at China’s World Radar Fair late last month in Beijing. Poly Technologies, which had the most expensive and visible pavilion at the event, made sure that visitors could see that the company is offering multi-level, full-system architecture air defense solutions.

Poly Technologies’ proposed air defense network design calls for an integrated system in which satellites, airborne early warning aircraft, ground-based radars, SAM batteries and fighter interceptors all work in coordination with one another. The company’s representatives noted that each piece of equipment depicted in its air defense network “can be sold to you by one of the other [PRC] defense trading companies, but we are the only one that can offer to design and construct all of the components of the system so that they interact in the way that best suits the customer’s requirement.”

However, a U.S. industry representative who was involved in the Turkish tender said that Chinese companies trying to replicate CPMIEC’s success there are forgetting that “there are several factors involved in the ‘win’ in Turkey that are not likely to be repeated elsewhere.” One factor, he said, was that the Chinese bid was at least $1 billion (U.S.) less than the U.S. and European offerings and as much as $3 billion less than the proposed Russian S-400 system from Almaz-Antei. Secondly, “the Chinese were willing to give away all of their source code and basically offered complete technology transfer to Turkish industry, which none of the other bidders was willing to do.”

Moreover, he added, the Chinese have not yet sealed the Turkish deal. “Turkey has asked all of the other bidders to extend the validity of their prices, which tells you that the game is not over yet,” he concluded.