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TF-X Program Gaining Momentum

The final decision on selecting a partner was reached within the context of the TF-X program and the contract was signed with BAE Systems.

The project setup was built on the philosophy of developing the TF-X aircraft by utilizing BAE’s existing technologies (Background IP) as well and through the collaborative activities of BAE and Turkish engineers based on the domestic joint responsibilities principle. In accordance with the project model, a design organization will be established within TAI’s premises and BAE will conduct the leadership of certain design groups and TAI will be the leader of some other groups.

G2G level negotiations between Turkey and the UK played an important role. In this way, the establishment of cooperation at a strategic level through the Exchange of Letters method between both countries at the Defense Ministry level was planned in order to facilitate project activities throughout the project; priorities such as obtaining export licenses and accelerating technology sharing and the obtaining of export licenses. Thus, the risks that may arise as part of the project will be minimized with the support provided by the British governmental authorities and at the same time the infrastructure and facilities.

Engine selection is an issue for the next phase. It is stated that regarding the selection of the off-the-shelf engines and indigenous engines, Turkey requires a hybrid solution and many existing off-the-shelf products are not fully capable of ensuring the performance that Turkey desires. It is mentioned that the solution will be jointly developed by Turkish industry and the engine company then it will be submitted to the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries for approval.

Within the concept of the TF-X program a significant number of human resources will be required for the following phases. In this respect, with the launch of the project’s design stage, numerous engineers from BAE Systems who are experienced in the design of fighter jets will be coming to Ankara and collaborating with the experienced engineers at TAI. Within the framework of our cooperation with BAE Systems, providing “on the job training” to Turkish engineers is planned as well. In this context, with the launch of the project, numerous TAI engineers will be simultaneously assigned at the facilities of BAE Systems (without being limited only to T-FX) for on the job training purposes and will be performing tasks and gaining experience there.

Within the scope of this project, studies are being carried out on determining which requirements would be covered by the available sub systems or off-the-shelf commercial products by projections on technologies which are to be utilized in the 2030s. The in-depth analysis will be made within this context regarding which technologies should be adopted indigenously as Turkey’s main objective is to put forth an Indigenous Fighter Jet designed fully in accordance with the requirements of the Turkish Air Forces.

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Ayşe Evers
Publisher & Editor in Chief