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Turkey, Pakistan jointly work on 'first Islamic world fighter jet' project

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) shake hands after a joint press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on January 4, 2019 [ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) shake hands after a joint press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on January 4, 2019 [ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey and Pakistan are jointly developing a 5th generation fighter jet, in an effort to replace and advance their existing fleets of fighters and combine their abilities in defence cooperation.

The TF-X [Turkish Fighter Experimental], which was first announced in 2016 and has been in development since, is envisioned by Turkey to be its first 5th generation twin-engine stealth fighter jet that is focused on air-to-air capabilities while also operating in an air-to-surface role.

In an interview with a Pakistani TV station this month, the CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAS), Temel Kotil, revealed that the project is being developed jointly with Pakistan.

According to an article earlier this month, Pakistani Air Vice-Marshal, Rizwan Riaz, said the project's development team – based in Turkey – distributes smaller tasks of work to students and researchers based in Pakistan, who contribute to integrating the components.

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Kotil also announced that some of TUSAS' operations will move to Pakistan this year as part of activities to improve and advance cooperation between the two countries in the defence industry.

The joint project – which has been dubbed by some as the 'Islamic world's first fighter [jet]' – is predicted to benefit both Ankara and Islamabad, replacing their outdated fighter jet fleets. As for Turkey, it is reportedly unable to completely develop the fighter jet on its own due to the economic crisis it has been suffering over the past few years.

Despite Pakistan already having its own indigenous 5th generation fighter jet project under its Project Azm, it aims to replace its aging F-16 and Mirage III fighter jets, as well as also facing difficulties in its project.

READ: Turkey-Pakistan defence industry deals peak in last two years

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