Turkey's TAI to join forces with Russian firm in civil aviation

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) has signed a strategic partnership deal with the Russian aircraft manufacturer, Irkut Corporation.

After participating in the Defense and Security Exhibition in Thailand on Nov. 6-9, TAI is now trying to boost market activity in the Middle East at the Dubai Airshow, according to a company statement.

The TAI booth, visited by the Pakistani high rank army officials, attracted significant interest. TAI General Manager Temel Kotil highlighted the importance of attending the Dubai Airshow, adding that they are aiming for a greater presence in the defense and aerospace sector of the Gulf countries, as well. The TAI also launched initiatives for new cooperation at the Dubai Airshow, where the T-129 advanced attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter flew a demonstration flight. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Irkut Corporation for strategic cooperation and partnership in aviation. Thus, the two companies will undertake joint design and production activities in the field of civil aviation.

At the recent Thailand Defense and Security Exhibition, the company exhibited its air platforms and held meetings with representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and South Korea to discuss opportunities for joint defense projects. Kotil said the TAI's unmanned armed vehicle (UAV), ANKA, has gained attention, and that meetings were held with army officials and defense ministers regarding exporting the vehicle. Meanwhile, the T129 Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) awaits a final signature to launch its exportation to Pakistan, as the country has agreed to buy 30 ATAK helicopters for its armed forces inventory. An export proposal for the helicopter has already been drawn up and submitted to authorities in Thailand. The TAI is also developing a national jet fighter, TF-X, with British partners. Though the architectural process for the project is still ongoing, its prototype production is scheduled to be launched soon, the general manager announced. The tender for manufacturing the engine will be organized by the TAI on behalf of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), and the chosen contractor for production of the engine will be announced in January. According to the SSM, the current domestic participation rate in defense projects is 50-60 percent, and the defense industry has an aggressive goal of reaching $25 billion and being self-sufficient by 2023. SSM data indicates Turkey's 2016 defense exports reached $1.9 billion, which was $487 million in 2006.

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