Turkey ready to build 'best fighter in the world'

Turkish Aerospace Industries head says work on TF-X with British partners will start after major Istanbul defense fair

Turkey ready to build 'best fighter in the world'

By Elif Ferhan Yesilyurt and Sumeyye Dalkilinc


The general director of Turkish Aerospace Industries on Monday said his firm would soon be ready to work with U.K. counterparts on Turkey’s domestic fighter jet project.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency’s Finance Desk, Temel Kotil said work would begin after the 13th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) which will start in Istanbul on Tuesday.

He said the Turkish government had generously backed the project and said workers were almost in the fifth year of the scheme.

Kotil described it as the most important technology project in Turkey in the last 30-40 years, adding the first flight of the two-engine TF-X combat aircraft would be in 2023.

A cooperation agreement between Turkey and the U.K. was made in January this year, during a visit by the British premier to Ankara.

Kotil said: "In the ceremony, I signed in the presence of our Prime Minister Mr. Binali Yildirim and the U.K. Prime Minister Ms. Theresa May.

“While we were shaking hands, we said: 'It will be the best fighter in the world'."

During that ceremony, May said: "We are today announcing a new and unique government-to-government agreement between Turkey and the United Kingdom that sets a new framework for cooperation and dialogue between our governments including the defense ministries and air forces."

She said the signing of a new agreement between Turkey and British company BAE Systems would see the partners collaborating on the pre-design phase of Turkey’s TF-X.

Separately on Monday, world-famous U.K-based engineering firm Rolls-Royce signed a deal with Turkey’s Kale Group -- a defense and aerospace business -- to produce aircraft engines.

Rolls-Royce said the two companies would establish a joint firm to produce engines for Turkey, particularly for the TF-X.

"We are delighted to announce this new joint venture and to have the opportunity to work together with Kale to develop the national engine for TF-X", Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace President Chris Cholerton said.

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