ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- One of Turkey's leading defense makers has entered an agreement to co-develop a major end item for the Patriot air and missile system, the system's maker Raytheon said.
In a news release Raytheon said that Turkey's Aselsan will help develop the antenna mast for the Patriot Configuration-3 systems that is intended to be delivered to the United Arab Emirates.
"Aselsan is Raytheon's first major trans-Atlantic partner selected to co-develop a Patriot major end item," said Tom Kennedy, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. "With its track record, technical expertise and location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Aselsan is ideally suited to be an international Patriot supplier and help serve our 12 partner nations that have chosen the combat-proven Patriot as a key component of their air and missile defense programs."
Working with subcontractors throughout Turkey, Europe and the United States, Aselsan has been contracted to coordinate and perform the designated work at its facility in Ankara.
The Massachusetts-based Raytheon IDS is the prime contractor for "domestic and international Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems and system integrator for Patriot Advanced Capability, or PAC-3 missiles," a company statement said.
The co-development agreement comes as Turkey enters talks with the United States over Ankara's possible participation in a NATO designed missile protection shield. Although Ankara hasn't turned down the U.S. invitation, it is concerned that a possible deployment of such a system in its terrain would harm Turkey's relations with Iran.
Relations between the two countries have improved significantly in recent years, mainly in the fields of business and security.
To take part in the project, Turkey has repeatedly insisted that the NATO missile shield project serve defensive than offensive purposes. The military alliance, and Washington in particular, hasn't denied that the system is intended against Iran.
Turkey has also requested that it be given a decision-making role and instant access to intelligence linked to any missile threat. It is understood that the United States has in principle provided Turkey with such assurances. The logistics, though, and set up of such an alert system have yet to be determined.
The Turkish deal with Raytheon Co. is the latest in a series of defense deals.
With sales estimated at $25 billion in 2009, Raytheon prides itself as a leader in defense technology and innovation.
"With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides a state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effect and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services," a company statement said.