Turkey is in the process of building its own fifth generation stealth fighter jet and is set to open it up for display for the first time at the International Paris Airshow, which opens today and ends Sunday.
In its statement released on Thursday, Turkish Aerospace announced that it will display for the first time “the one-to-one mock-up of the Turkish Fighter” that has been “initiated to meet the needs of Turkish Armed Force, which is the prime contractor of Turkish Aerospace.”
By producing the fifth generation fighter jet aircraft, the company stated that “Turkey will demonstrate once again its infrastructure, technologies and abilities…which is therefore considered invaluable to a leading power like the USA, Russia and China.”
The manufacture of the jet, dubbed “Turkish Fighter”, is a new landmark technological development in the history of Turkey’s defence industry, which has the goal of reaching exports amounting to $25 billion per year by 2023.
Professor Temel Kotil , the president and CEO of the company, claimed that “we will do what few countries worldwide do. For the first time we will exhibit Turkish Fighter in Paris in order to show our capabilities. Thus, Turkey will demonstrate that there is no difference from other countries from the point of view of technological infrastructure.”
Turkish Aerospace has built prominent components for the F-35 fighter jet designed and manufactured by the US, and has been a significant part of its supply chain throughout its production. It was 100 of these same F-35 jets which the US agreed to deliver to Turkey this year, but that deal has been halted and delayed due to the ongoing issue regarding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system.
The sale of the S-400 system has been a major point of controversy between the US and Turkey due to claims that it is not compatible with the technology of the F-35 jet and will also compromise the security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), of which Turkey is a member. Ankara has been insistent on the continuation of the S-400 deal, however, and has stated that there is no stepping back from it.
The manufacturing and development of this new Turkish Fighter project, which will employ 3,200 people as well as indirect employment contribution estimated to be around 11,200, can be seen as a home-grown alternative to make up for the loss of the F-35s, although their production started before the inception of the controversy surrounding the S-400 deal.