Turkey is working on a domestic development program to supply critical technologies for engines for its first fighter jet after talks with British engine-maker Rolls-Royce were put on hold.
Turkey’s military procurement agency, the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), has commissioned local company TRMotor to develop the technologies, researcher and journalist Burak Bekdil wrote in Defence News on Wednesday.
Turkey is seeking alternatives to upgrade its aerial firepower after the United States suspended its purchase of F-35 fighter jets in response to its acquisition in 2019 of Russian S-400 air defence missiles. The country is aiming to build its own fighter jet, the TF-X, which could enter service in the 2030s.
TRMotor, a Turkish state-controlled engine maker, signed the deal with the prime contractor of the TF-X program, the state-run Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), on Sunday, Bekdil said.
“TF-X engine is at its concept design phase,” said Bekdil, citing Osman Dur, the general manager of TRMotor.
The TF-X program has suffered hiccups due to technological issues. TAI has been in talks with Rolls-Royce for co-production of engines but has yet to agree a final contract. The £100 million ($139 million) deal has been put on hold due to uncertainties over technology transfer, Bekdil said.