ANKARA — UK engine maker Rolls-Royce and its local partner Kale will launch a joint effort to produce an engine to power Turkey's first indigenous fighter jet, the TF-X.
The effort will be undertaken by TAEC, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Kale. Kale, a Turkish industrial conglomerate, owns 51% of TAEC.
TAEC's earlier efforts to launch the engine program ended in uncertainty. Ismail Demir, Turkey's chief procurement official, recently said TAEC's effort had failed over "five or six" disputes in the production plan.
But in a March 5 television interview Demir said the government would now negotiate a possible engine deal with Rolls-Royce. "We had some issues [with Rolls-Royce] before," he said. "These have been resolved. I think we are ready to work together."
Industry sources said the new TAEC effort is part of a renewed interest in the TF-X program, also linked to the potential purchase by Turkey of scores of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft as a stop-gap solution.
The TF-X is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2026. It will enter service in 2029, according to Turkish officials. The U.S.-made F110 engine will be used in its prototypes.
The planned TAEC engine is expected to fly the TF-X at an altitude of 40,000 feet and a speed of 1.8 mach.
Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.