Turkish TF-X fighter is a priority, and it should fly soon

ANKARA, (BM) – Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 program could be a valuable move for the Turkish defense industry and even more helpful for Turkish defense. Such an opinion spread among military experts, mainly from Turkey.

Ismail Demir, head of the Turkish defense industry, said the same in a television interview on April 30th this year. According to the highest-ranking official in the Turkish defense industry, Ankara will prioritize the production of the local TF-X fighter, despite the expected loss of nearly $ 1.4 billion from Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.

Strictly the same opinion, although expected, was expressed by Temel Kotil, executive director of TAI – the company whose task is to blow up the Turkish consumer soon. “My main priority is the TF-X program. It needs to be done,” Kotil said.

Temel Kotil also said that Ankara had allocated an additional $ 1.3 billion for the project, covering the costs of phase 1 of it. “A total of 6,000 engineers are working on this program,” he added.

According to preliminary plans, the Turkish TF-X fighter should be in the air in the period 2025-2026. For this purpose, TAI will soon have a brand new specially built hangar for the project and, according to Kotil, the second-best wind tunnel for tests.

The Russian S-400 air defense system proved to be the obstacle

The purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems in Ankara has proved to be a significant problem in US-Turkey relations in recent years. Washington has decided to expel Turkey from the F-35 program, fearing that with the help of Russian S-400 air defense systems, the Russians could gain access to sensitive data on F-35 fighters. Another widely publicized reason was the lack of Link 16 – a system for communication between NATO countries and a method determining “who is the enemy and a friend.”

Of course, there is a more logical version than the one spread in the international information exchange. Washington, for example, has offered Ankara its S-400-equivalent Patriot systems, but Turkey has refused because of the high cost and, as has proven in recent years, less efficiency.

Turkey has repeatedly offered the United States a working group between the two countries to resolve the S-400 problem. There are no concerns about F-35 data, but Washington has repeatedly refused.

Turkey lost in the short term but gained a long-term, uncertain future

Against the background of international political relations, many military experts take for granted the two extremes of the problem – the United States is correct, Turkey is proper. However, a more in-depth logical explanation for Erdogan’s actions is very rarely sought.

Money should not be the cause. According to an expert and consultant of BulgarianMilitary.com, Turkey decided to buy S-400 to gain future independence from Washington and the S-400 to act as a deterrent against anyone in an attack.

It is also clear that Turkey would not receive the “American” F-35, but its export version with some requirements added according to the Turks. This is also a problem. We know that downhill fighters are undergoing system and software upgrades. Erdogan realized that the Turkish F-35 could become an expensive F-16 fighter without the enhancements that the United States offers to other partners at some point in the unfavorable development of world relations.

Something like Egypt – they have a great flotilla of F-16s, but in reality, they are so behind in terms of software and updates that they were forced to buy MiG and Su from Russia and Rafal from France.


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