Turkey to develop indigenous fighter jets: Erdoğan
Erdoğan's remarks came during a speech at the commissioning ceremony of TCG Kınalıada, the fourth ship of the MİLGEM project– a Turkish national warship program, in Istanbul on Sept. 29.
“I am expressing my gratitude to those who worked for these ships’ designs and production. Hereby, I am commemorating Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha and all our sailors with mercy and gratitude,” Erdoğan said.
“Our navy forces are making us proud with their accomplishments, qualified personnel and fittings,” he said.
Turkey is one of the 10 countries which can manufacture a warship with its own means, the president said.
The recent happenings in the Mediterranean indicate that Turkey should have a stronger hand in marine areas, he added.
“We are building and sending off our MİLGEM ships with determination. With the experience we gathered in the MİLGEM project, we increased the rate of indigenousness to 70 percent,” Erdoğan said.
More projects to strengthen Turkish naval forces will come, Erdoğan added.
“Our active corvettes have performed their duties by taking part in many national and international military exercises,” he said.
“I believe that this ship will make us more powerful in the sea,” he added.
What happened with the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program pushes Turkey to become more determined on indigenous military crafts, according to Erdoğan.
“We will accomplish to make our own fighter jets, just like we did with our attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and armed unmanned aerial vehicles,” the president stressed.
“Its time is close,” he said.
Turkey is undeterred to produce indigenous vehicles, Erdoğan underlined.
“Our aim is to completely remove foreign dependence in the defense industry, by 2023,” he said.
“The troubles we have been going through for the past six years are to prevent Turkey from achieving these goals. As I’ve always been saying, they will not be successful. If they woke up the sleeping giant, they will face the consequences,” he added.
The ground Turkey has covered in the defense industry has helped the country to look into its independence and future in a more secure way, he said.
The Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command started construction of Kınalıada (F-514), the fourth Ada-class corvette, in October of 2015.
Turkey, which for the first time accomplished an indigenous design of a corvette-type military ship, has been able to reduce dependence on foreign technology and has also gained significant knowledge and experience in building war ships.
The MİLGEM project’s indigenous Ada-class corvettes are capable to launch surface combats, showing the advancement of the Turkish defense industry.
The ship is capable of carrying the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter or unmanned aircraft, along with the associated armaments, 20 tons of JP-5 aircraft fuel, aerial refueling systems and maintenance facilities.
Previously, TCG Heybeliada, TCG Büyükada and TCG Burgazada were delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces. The Kınalıada will be the fourth ship that will be delivered to the Navy.
Along with the commissioning ceremony, a steel-cutting ceremony also took place at the shipyard to celebrate the beginning of the actual construction process of a warship for Pakistan.
The Pakistan Navy has signed a contract for the acquisition of four MİLGEM-class ships from Turkey.