BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) have advanced their collaboration on Ankara’s fifth-generation TF-X fighter project. Signed by the prime ministers of Turkey and the UK, the new heads of agreement pact is expected to lead to a contract worth more than £100 million ($127 million), BAE says.

In December 2015 Turkey picked BAE to work with TAI on a pre-contract study phase for the TF-X activity, which seeks to develop an indigenous successor to its air force’s Lockheed Martin F-16s. The nation’s SSM defence procurement agency had explored a trio of aircraft configurations for the future platform, including single- and twin-engined designs.

“BAE Systems is in an excellent position to contribute technical and engineering expertise and experience of managing complex projects to this key Turkish programme,” says chief executive Ian King, referring to its involvement in projects including the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed F-35. “The agreement confirms ongoing collaborative work on the design and development of the aircraft.”

Flight Fleets Analyzer records the Turkish air force as operating 245 F-16C/Ds, the oldest of which entered use 29 years ago.