In support of the TFX next-generation fighter, Kale Group, one of Turkey’s emerging defence vendors has partnered with U.K.-based Rolls-Royce to develop and manufacture turbofan engines in Turkey.
Kale Group and Rolls-Royce will jointly establish a company by the name of “TAEC Aircraft Engine Industry Corporation” in Turkey – Kale Group and Rolls-Royce will own 51% and 49% of the company, respectively.
Kale Group’s Deputy CEO, Osman Okyay, praised the agreement, stating, “This partnership is a milestone in the development of the aerospace and defense industries of Turkey.”
Speaking to local media (via Anadolu Agency), Rolls-Royce’s Defence Aviation Unit President Chris Cholerton said that Rolls-Royce was “delighted to announce this new joint venture and to have the opportunity to work together with Kale to develop the national engine for TF-X.”
The agreement follows months of sustained bilateral interest between Turkey and the U.K to manufacture engines. In October, Rolls-Royce officials – including CEO Warren East – visited Turkey and met with top government officials to discuss areas of collaboration.
At the time, it was believed that Rolls-Royce offered Turkey the EJ200 with a measure of co-production and transfer-of-technology. Both sides also discussed Turkey’s requirement for export licenses, a key need for Ankara’s ambition to control and commercially benefit from the TFX.
As per the Daily Sabah, intellectual property and technologies generated by TAEC will remain with Turkey.
This partnership is the second major agreement between Turkey and the U.K., following upon an earlier agreement – valued at over £100 million – in January which will have BAE Systems assist Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with designing the TFX. The TAI-BAE agreement is expected to be inked at the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF), which began on Wednesday, May 09 in Istanbul.
In February, TAI General Manager Temil Kotil said that the company was still committed to having the TFX fly in 2023, which would commemorate the establishment of the Turkish Republic. While the newly signed contracts are critical, the 2023-target date for a maiden test flight is generally considered to be ambitious.