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Turkey's indigenous fighter program (T-FX)


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Seems they might go ahead with this program...

Turkey Likely To OK Indigenous Fighter Program
Jan. 25, 2014 - 02:18PM  |  By BURAK EGE BEKDIL  | 

Sources say Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will approve plans to build an indigenous fighter, despite misgivings over whether the country can afford it.

ANKARA — Turkey’s government, procurement and industry officials widely expect Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to approve an ambitious program to build the country’s first indigenous fighter aircraft, amid doubts that Ankara could afford to buy it alongside theF-35 joint strike fighter.

A senior procurement official said the three draft models, one of which would become the first Turkish indigenous fighter jet, have been finalized.

“If and how we proceed from now on will be discussed and decided at the next committee meeting,” the procurement official said Jan. 20. “We expect the prime minister to rule in favor of going ahead to the development phase.”

The “committee” is the Defense Industry Executive Committee, chaired by Erdogan, which oversees top procurement decisions. The committee does not have a scheduled meeting, but sources say the next gathering is likely before local elections March 30.

The committee’s other members are Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Chief of General Staff Army Gen. Necdet Ozel and chief procurement official Murad Bayar.

Turkey has been in talks with Sweden’s Saab for pre-conceptual design work for the first Turkish national fighter jet. Saab produces the JAS 39 Gripen, a lightweight single-engine multirole fighter.

But industry sources say other foreign players could get involved in later stages. “It is not a secret that [Korea Aerospace Industries] is seeking to have a slot,” said one Western company source.

Turkey hopes that the indigenous TF-X will fly by 2023, the centennial of the republic. Turkey’s aerospace powerhouse, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), has been debating three designs.

“We have submitted our report on the three designs without delays. We hope that the government will give the go-ahead for [the next stage of] the program. We aim to sign a development contract this year,” said Ozcan Ertem, head of TAI’s aircraft group, in remarks carried by the semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

Another procurement official said all parties involved with TF-X met this month “to iron out differences between the procurement authorities and the Air Force over what ... TAI’s role should be.”

A government official said Erdogan could endorse the TF-X development contract. “I cannot speak on the prime minister’s behalf at this stage. And the findings of TAI’s report are not yet on his desk. All I can say is that this is one of his ‘prestige projects,’ ” he said.

But industry sources and experts have said that developing and building the first made-in-Turkey fighter while buying F-35s could be too costly for Turkey.

They say Turkey could face a US $50 billion bill in the next few decades if it decides to build an indigenous fighter jet and order scores of the US-led, multinational F-35 in a parallel move. Ankara intends to buy around 100 F-35s.

Industry experts say a number of Turkish companies, with experience earned as part of the US-led JSF program, now look more competent: Ayesas and KALE in aviation; TEI in engines; TAI in fuselage, design and integration; Aselsan in avionics, radars and electronics; Roketsan and MKEK in weapons systems; Ayesas and Milsoft in data software; and Meteksan in national data links.

As an earlier indication of a positive decision on the TF-X, former Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said in September that a plan for the design, development and production of a Turkish civilian aircraft, with 60 to 120 seats, already had been submitted to the Cabinet for approval. ■

Turkish F-35s one day flying alongside the T-FX?

Defense News

Turkey Insists on Indigenous Fighter Jet

ANKARA — A top procurement meeting of Turkey's government and military leaders Jan. 7 produced several critical decisions, but officials and analysts agree a move to further efforts to build the country's first indigenous fighter aircraft was most important.

The move increases Turkey's official orders as part of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program to six so far. Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35s.

"The new order for the F-35 had been widely expected and it came as no surprise. This just confirms Turkey's commitment to the JSF program," an official familiar with the program said.

SSM said that the move to buy five Chinooks would be a follow-on order to a previous deal involving six helicopters.


At the Jan. 7 meeting, SSIK also decided to move on to the "pre-design" phase in Turkey's bid to design, develop and produce an indigenous fighter jet.

Davutoglu told reporters after the meeting that a twin-engine model would be pursued in the national fighter aircraft program.

And the program is approved to go forward:

Defense News

Turkey Approves Regional Jet, Fighter Program

ANKARA — A top Turkish government body for procurement has approved two multibillion dollar indigenous programs; one for a regional jet and the other for a national fighter aircraft.

The Defense Industry Executive Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, convened Monday. The meeting had been called on unusually short notice, the previous Friday, a senior official said.

The committee brings together, along with the prime minister, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz; Army Gen. Necdet Ozel, chief of the military General Staff; Army Gen. Necdet Ozel; and chief procurement official, Ismail Demir. No announcement was made after the meeting.

The Turks are serious enough with this program that they've already in the process of selecting an engine:

Defense News

Engine Selection Critical for Turkish F-X Fighter Program
By Burak Ege Bekdil
4:21 p.m. EDT September 26, 2015

ANKARA — The selection of an engine for what will eventually be Turkey’s first indigenous fighter jet is the most critical step in the current stage of the program, Turkish officials said, and the government has been in talks with engine makers to assess engine options and modality. 

In September, a team from Turkey’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), had meetings with UK-based Rolls-Royce on the sidelines of the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London. SSM’s deputy undersecretary, Celal Sami Tufekci, was at the DSEI show with a team of SSM officials.

More on the fighter that may be in aerial skirmishes against Russian PAK-FAs/Sukhoi T-50s in the future:

Defense News

Turkey Eyes Indigenous Jet Contract by Mid-2016
By Burak Ege Bekdil 3:47 p.m. EST January 23, 2016

ANKARA — Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), maker of what will eventually become Turkey’s first indigenous fighter jet, hopes to pen a design contract for the aircraft in the first half of 2016.

The company is in talks with the procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), over the design phase of the program, dubbed TF-X.

TAI recently narrowed design options to three models, one of which will be chosen by the end-user, the Turkish Air Force.

Another delay:

Defense News

Procurement debate delays Turkey's indigenous fighter jet program
Burak Ege Bekdil, Defense News 9:30 a.m. EST March 3, 2016

ANKARA — Administrative snags and differences of opinion between procurement and military officials are delaying Turkey’s most ambitious indigenous program for the design, development and production of a fighter jet.

The program, dubbed TF-X, aims to fly the Turkish fighter jet by 2023, the centenary of the country’s foundation. But some analysts are skeptical about that goal.

“In all likelihood, the Turkish fighter jet program will face major delays. In the worst case scenario it will fail and metamorphose into something else,” an aerospace industry specialist said. “If things go better there should be a Turkish jet in the skies long after 2023.”



BAE-Turkey Fighter Jet Plan Said Delayed After Failed Coup
Benjamin D Katz

August 16, 2016 — 9:43 AM PDT
Updated on August 17, 2016 — 11:40 AM PDT

BAE Systems Plc’s deal to develop Turkey’s first home-built fighter jet has been delayed as the U.K. assesses the aftermath of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to people familiar with the situation.

Formal details of the cooperation with Turkish Aerospace Industries on the jet, dubbed the TF-X, may be announced only toward the end of the year, the people said. The agreement had originally been expected within the next few weeks, two of the people said.

BAE is competing with Airbus Group SE for the right to help design and develop the plane, which is targeted for completion by 2023, according to one of the people. A deal would help the U.K. defense industry push into new export markets, an effort that has gained importance since the June vote for Britain to exit the European Union. For Turkey, a home-grown combat aircraft would help reduce dependence on Germany and the U.S. for military equipment.