In December 2019, Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TUSAŞ) opened an office in Pakistan’s newly raised National Science & Technology Park (NSTP), becoming the first Turkish entity to set-up in the facility.
The goal of the NSTP is to incubate research and development (R&D) efforts across multiple clusters, and support small and medium enterprises (SME). One of the NSTP’s focus clusters is defence technology.
It is not known how TUSAŞ will engage in the NSTP, though this move may not be tied – at least exclusively – to the company’s sale of 30 T129 ATAK attack helicopters to the Pakistan Army.
Rather, the NSTP office could be TUSAŞ’ effort to encourage R&D work in Pakistan, which could feed either its own projects or, potentially, joint Pakistani-Turkish initiatives. In fact, TUSAŞ stated that it will examine opportunities for R&D in Pakistan’s universities and, in turn, expand its presence accordingly.
TUSAŞ is Turkey’s main aerospace contractor, responsible for the design, development and manufacturing of military aircraft for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Its current portfolio consists of the Hürkuş trainer and light combat aircraft, Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and T129 ATAK attack helicopter.
Priced at $1.5 billion US, the T129 sale is, to-date, TUSAŞ largest export order for one of its own products.
TUSAŞ’ also has a growing development pipeline of original projects, the first of which likely to enter serial production is the T625 Gökbey six-ton utility helicopter and Aksungur UAV.
Through the 2020s, the company will work on a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT), a 10-ton attack helicopter, a 10-ton utility helicopter, and – its flagship program– next-generation fighter, the T-FX.
The T-FX has been of apparent interest to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). In May 2019, the Chairman of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) – Air Marshal Ahmer Shahzad – was quoted saying, “Turkey’s T-FX is in line with what the PAF want.” This follows two years of other official statements along those lines.
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