Nov 08 2018

Turkey says international engine-makers still welcome on its fighter jet project

Turkish Defence Industry Director Ismail Demir said on Thursday that Turkey had not closed all the doors to international engine-makers wishing to participate in its fighter jet project, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a signing ceremony with defence company TR Motors for the production of the jets, Demir said international engine-makers could still get involved in Turkey’s TF-X national fighter jet project, but that Turkey had red lines regarding the project on which it would not compromise.

The TF-X, Turkey’s first domestically made jet, is expected to take its place in the Turkish Air Force and become active in the fleet by 2030.

“An engine that belongs fully to us is our red line. Since we know it will be a long process, we will work with those who want to produce an intermediary engine,” Reuters quoted Demir as saying.

Demir said there should be no restrictions on exports, that all the technology would belong to Turkey, and that Turkey would own all the rights.

The Defense News website said last week that Turkey has chosen General Electric’s F110 family of engines for a prototype of its first indigenous fighter jet.

An initial agreement in July to acquire and co-build engines from Rolls Royce has since fallen through. British officials were concerned that Turkey wanted Rolls Royce to share its technology with TR Motor, whose shareholders include Qatar’s minister of defence. 

Demir said Turkey would be willing to waive the red lines for a prototype engine produced in cooperation with Rolls Royce, but not for the final product.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for Turkey's defence industry to be "national and native".