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With F-35 expulsion, Turkey’s top weapons buyer prioritizes TF-X work

K Shehzad

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s top defense procurement official, Ismail Demir, said in an April 30 TV interview that the government will prioritize the production of its indigenous TF-X fighter jet amid an estimated loss of $1.4 billion for the local industry following the country’s expulsion from the American-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
The U.S. decided to exclude Turkey from the multinational program in response to Ankara’s decision to acquire and deploy the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system. Turkish aerospace officials said domestic companies associated with the F-35 production effort are to fulfill commitments to manufacturing thousands of parts until next year, but the aircraft will not be delivered to the Turkish Air Force.
Turkish Aerospace Industries is designing, developing and will build the TF-X, aiming to fly the aircraft around the 2025-2026 time frame.
TAI CEO Temel Kotil said in an April 27 TV interview that “the government has earmarked an additional $1.3 billion to Phase 1 of the TF-X program. A total of 6,000 engineers are working on this program.”
He added his company will soon build the first hangar for the TF-X as well as what he called Europe’s second-best wind tunnel for testing the aircraft.
 

Ali_Baba

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Have they resolved their engine problems for the platform? Could the RD-93MA be considered as a fallback option for the platform if a local solution cannot be made?
 

hyperman

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Could the RD-93MA be considered as a fallback option for the platform if a local solution cannot be made?
very unlikely, considering a completely different class of engines are to be used for the initial prototype(General Electric F110), which is the same as the engine used in the f-16s. In all likelyhood if it does end up being the F110, then the next engine would most likely be a drop in replacement of the same class, which the RD-93 is not. besides it doesn't make sense to rely on russia for engines for turkey. In all likelyhood the new engine will be built with help of RollsRoyce who have been looking to develop an engine in that class.
 

Saifullah

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very unlikely, considering a completely different class of engines are to be used for the initial prototype(General Electric F110), which is the same as the engine used in the f-16s. In all likelyhood if it does end up being the F110, then the next engine would most likely be a drop in replacement of the same class, which the RD-93 is not. besides it doesn't make sense to rely on russia for engines for turkey. In all likelyhood the new engine will be built with help of RollsRoyce who have been looking to develop an engine in that class.
Very unlikely that RR will help out for engine. West is not gona help.
 

hyperman

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Very unlikely that RR will help out for engine. West is not gona help.
RollsRoyce is looking to develop an engine of that class for the Tempest. British foreign policy with regards to Turkey has always been more independent, and friendly. There aren't many other options for well established engine developers. RollsRoyce was in negotiations with TAI. If I had to bet, I would be on them, b/c it definitely won't be the French or Germans, and idk how things will go with ToT with US manufacturers or how congress will react.
 

T-SaGe

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The engine issue is a very complex and painful process.

However, things are going better than expected in other matters. One of the details that makes a difference is to bring in a large number of sectoral experts from European aviation(mostly UK and Germany), which is directly to the Turkey's workforce or at the consultancy level, under leadership of TAI.

On the other hand, all of the companies in the MMU ecosystem are currently active suppliers of aviation giants such as Lockheed, Boeing and Airbus. Turkey is currently a project paradise, there are many military aviation projects. Of course, it is not a scale comparable to military superpowers, but on its own terms, it is a huge scale that requires more than all of this capacity utilization. Perhaps it is not discussed much here, but for the last 5-10 years, Turkish aviation has been continuing huge investment in infrastructure. All this for design/test/production capacity 10 years later.

There is no problem with producing aircraft here. What Turkey is trying for the first time is conceptualizing, designing and testing fighter jets. (This is why the Hurjet project is being running ahead of MMU) In addition, the production capacity will need to be increased in order to feed this whole ecosystem. All these reasons cause Turkish aviation to grow exponentially in every few years as human resources and infrastructure facilities.
 

Saifullah

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RollsRoyce is looking to develop an engine of that class for the Tempest. British foreign policy with regards to Turkey has always been more independent, and friendly. There aren't many other options for well established engine developers. RollsRoyce was in negotiations with TAI. If I had to bet, I would be on them, b/c it definitely won't be the French or Germans, and idk how things will go with ToT with US manufacturers or how congress will react.
Foreign Policy in general is different thing but to give out their best class engine for Turkish Fighter jet is whole different thing. I don't think it will happen but my prayers are with Turkey.
 

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