Turkey’s Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM) has chosen BAE Systems to assist with the design of the nation’s next-generation fighter.
Ankara launched its TFX project in 2011, with a trio of concepts designed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in conjunction with Gripen manufacturer Saab. These comprise single- and twin-engined models, which served as the basis for studies by the SSM.
Following the selection of BAE, Ankara is expected to choose one of the concepts within the next few weeks, and sign an agreement with its development partner by February 2016. It has named Airbus Defence & Space as its second choice, and for now will continue talks with both parties.
If confirmed as partner, BAE will join the Turkish team for four years, and following this development phase, Ankara plans to roll out its TFX aircraft in 2023. The type is expected to enter service with the nation’s air force in 2030.
In addition to BAE and Airbus, the SSM had invited Alenia Aermacchi, Saab and China’s CATIC to submit interest as potential partners on the development activity.