Another important step has been taken in the TF-X project, which is included in the inventory of the Turkish Air Force Command to design and produce a modern fighter jet suitable for the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) with a maximum use of domestic facilities, capable of replacing F-16 jet fighters from 2020 onward.
An open general export license has been issued which allows companies to cooperate in various fields and determines their scope in projects being undertaken in collaboration with Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) as the main contractor.
Regarding the export license, İsmail Demir, undersecretary for Defense Industries, said: "The U.K.'s export license issuance is the most important issue. We do not accept the sporadic approach of ‘let's begin this way and make up things up as we go along.' We want to hear that there will be no restrictions, including export licenses."
Clive Allcorn, president of the International Trade Department at the British Embassy in Ankara, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the license covers all technology and equipment related to the TF-X project.
Stressing that the license facilitates the export of goods and services from the U.K. to meet the operational requirements of the TF-X project, Allcorn said that the license can be updated if requirements change during the development stage of the project.
Allcorn said that the license has been granted with the intention of supporting and promoting technology transfer as part of the project, adding that the license covers all U.K. companies that will work on the TF-X program and that companies will not have to submit separate licensing applications.
Explaining that the TF-X project requires the implementation and integration of a wide range of sophisticated technologies like any high-tech project, Allcorn said that the license aims to make this process as simple and fast as possible in the TF-X project, adding that the issuance of the license is a measure of the strength of trust between the U.K. and Turkey in defense cooperation and demonstrates the great importance the two governments gives to the success of the TF-X project. Noting that the license does not have a provision on exporting the final product to third countries, Allcorn said it is exclusively used for the facilitation of the exports of British companies to Turkey for the success of the TF-X program. "We strongly support Turkey's desire to sell the TF-X, which will be one of the main measures of the success of the joint program, to third markets," he said.
Pointing out that BAE Systems has signed a contract with TAI for the first design phase of the TF-X program, Allcorn said that they are closely monitoring the current talks and negotiations on engine selection and hope to finalize the process soon. "Obviously, the U.K. government will welcome the news that a British company has been chosen as a partner in the development of an engine for the TF-X project," he said. cDuring British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to Ankara, an agreement was signed between TAI and British BAE Systems regarding the framework of developments for the TF-X project.
The Kale Group and Rolls-Royce, one of the world's largest aircraft engine makers, also decided to form a partnership in order to develop aircraft engines that the country needs in both civilian and military applications, especially for the TF-X project.