The top body of Turkey’s defense industry has started cooperating with United Kingdom-based Rolls-Royce on the engine to power the country’s National Combat Aircraft (MMU), the head of the authority said Saturday.
In a televised program on broadcaster CNN Türk, Ismail Demir, head of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), commented on the developments regarding the MMU, a long-awaited domestic defense industry project.
The TF-X MMU, which is a fifth-generation jet with similar features to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II, is being developed by the local defense industry with the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as the main contractor.
Stating that there is an alternative engine option in addition to the F-110 engine to be supplied from the U.S.,Demir noted: “We also had the possibility of working with Rolls-Royce for the engine.”
“We previously had some concerns (about this cooperation),” he said; however, the company resolved these concerns as a result of the meetings held.
“The work has begun,” he added.
Demir, back in March 2021, stated that the British company didn’t have an engine for this particular aircraft and that the company was offering to develop an engine for the MMU with a partnership it established in Turkey.
However, there were conditions that the Turkish side didn’t accept, Demir said at the time, and added that once the company is ready, Turkey was in a position to boost the business to a better standing.
Open sources overwhelmingly suggest that Turkey’s TRMotor and Rolls-Royce will work together to develop an engine for the MMU.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has close relations with another Turkish company, the Kale Group, as well.
The Kale research and development (R&D) company, under the roof of the Kale Group, has domestically developed turbojet missile engines that power Turkish missiles.
The national fighter jet is scheduled to exit the hangar in 2023, make its maiden flight in 2025 or 2026, and be added to the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) inventory in 2029.