BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) signed on 29 January 2017 a Heads of Agreement to collaborate on the first development phase of an indigenous fifth-generation fighter jet for the Turkish Air Force – TF-X, opening the way to deeper cooperation over the lifetime of the project.
The announcement was made in Ankara in the presence of the Prime Ministers of Turkey Binali Yildirim and the United Kingdom Theresa May, with a value in excess of £100 Million.
At its peak hundreds of Turkish and UK engineers will collaborate on the TF-X programme helping to support collaboration on the skills, technology and technical expertise required to deliver the programme.
Commenting on the agreement, BAE Systems Chief Executive, Ian King, said: ‘‘BAE Systems is a leader in designing, manufacturing and supporting fighter aircraft and is in an excellent position to contribute technical and engineering expertise and experience of managing complex projects to this key Turkish programme”.
“The announcement signals an exciting next step in relations between both Turkey and the UK with the co-operation between BAE Systems and TAI paving the way for a deeper defence partnership and confirms ongoing collaborative work on the design and development of the aircraft”, he continued.
The Turkish army is heavily involved in multiple military operations and frequently launches air strikes on Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey, and more recently the Islamic State extremist group in northern Syria.