SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY > Turkey to replace F-16s with local jets

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

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Turkish arms manufacturer TAI has signed a technical assistance deal with Swedish Saab on technical assistance to build a fighter jet that will replace the F-16s.

Turkish arms manufacturer TAI has signed a technical assistance deal with Swedish Saab on technical assistance to build a fighter jet that will replace the F-16s.

Turkey eyes replacing F-16s with locally produced fighter jets by 2023, Turkey’s defense undersecretary said yesterday.

“We’re working on the conceptual design of a new fighter jet that will replace our F-16 fighters,” Defense Industry Undersecretary Murad Bayar said yesterday on the sidelines of the two-day International Air&Space Power (ICAP) Conference being held in Istanbul.

Recently, Turkish arms manufacturer TAI has signed a technical assistance deal with Swedish Saab on technical assistance to build a fighter jet, as Daily News reported.

Turkish officials have been in talks with Saab (and with Korean Aerospace Industries) to find the best modality for the ambitious project of building its own fighter since 2010 and 2011. In August 2011, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, signed a deal with TAI to carry out the conceptual design work for fighter and jet trainer aircraft Turkey hopes to build. 

In recent months a Turkish delegation, including SSM officials, visited Saab headquarters and production facilities in Sweden. And more recently, TAI and Saab penned a preliminary agreement for technical assistance which will pave the way for a subsequent support deal. 

In yesterday’s statements, Bayar said the project of designing a local fighter began last year and after some trials one of the designs has matured.

After completing the design phase, the undersecretary will make an offer on developing a fighter to the Defense Industry Executive Committee, the highest defense procurement body of Turkey, which includes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, as well as Bayar himself.

Recalling that Turkey had been one of the partners in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) consortium that builds F-35 fighters, Bayar said the roles of the new model to be developed and the F-35 would be different. Therefore, new fighters will be configured as air-to-air planes and they will complement each other with F-35s.

Defense sources had told to Daily News that the program was exposed to the risk of a prolonged conceptual design and this would make the whole project “not very meaningful.”

ANKA to be developed

Meanwhile, asked about how Turkey’s recently launched Göktürk-2 satellite would serve the Turkish Armed Forces, Bayar said the satellite would provide intelligence to Turkey by taking photos of certain regions, which will be used in the operational plans of the army. The first visuals have already arrived, he said.

In addition, he said Turkey also had ambitious plans to develop and upgrade its unmanned aircraft, ANKA.

“The new ANKA will be 4 tons, [the current model is 1.5 tons] and its carrying power, capabilities and sensors will be developed accordingly,” Bayar said, stressing that this would be one of the most important projects of the upcoming period.

Bets open on Turkey’s first fighter aircraft


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Notice on comments

Eric Martin

4/2/2013 11:58:26 PM

ismail demir, if you didn't have a Turkish name then i would swear you were a antiturkish. Nuclear weapons would be harder to build than something like an F-16 clone.


3/30/2013 2:56:50 AM

@John just wishful thinking, Turkey is one of the 6 investors in the development of the F-35 and none can prevent Turkey from getting it, since Turkey is the partner from scratch for that project and since the F-16's are no match for the F-35, it is just wishful thinking at it's best. Turkey has an order of 100 F-35's which will boost the Turkish Air Force to the top in the world. Turkey will do well by making it's own fighter jet that can compete with F-16's and F-35's, none cares about Israel

ismail demir

3/30/2013 12:01:24 AM

It is impossible for Turkey to produce jets compete with USA.If Turkey see a risque about USA embargo similar to after 1974, only option is to go to nuclear weapons.

Vargen Vargen

3/29/2013 7:58:37 PM

Nageyec. For Turkey to build a high tech jet fighter is going to become extremely expensive. We have very very litte experience and competence from advanced high tech. Sure, we assembly Casper computers and Vestel kitchen equipment, but that is as far as it goes. Not even the most competen countries in the world, like Germany, finds it feasable to do it themselves because it gets to expensive. And then you expect a poor (compared with Germany) without competence to build something world class???

John McAuliffe

3/29/2013 6:07:22 PM

Various systems in F16 models are Israeli inventions and following Erdogan's behaviour will not be sold to Turkey. The USA is not allowed to sell these inventions without an Israeli consent. The Israeli avionics are by far more advanced than the Swedish ones. The days of Saab have gone. Austria which stopped buying them after corruption case as opposed to quality replaced them. Turkey will do well to cooperate with Israel . As to South Korea they too cooperate with Israel.

Nageyec Conduz

3/29/2013 11:36:26 AM

@Vargen Vargen, It's nice to say that money should be spent on healthcare, Education or here and there, while ignoring the fact that Turkey already spent more money on buying F16s from the US, and still spending more money in maintaining and upgrading them. Imagine if America decides not to sell any more aeroplanes To Turkey? What will Turkey do? Perhaps sit and cry.

two sides to every coin

3/29/2013 10:49:23 AM

Another pie in sky advertisement for the die hard Turkey can do anything people. We cannot even produce a car, but now we are going to produce a state of the art fighter jet. AKP propaganda at its best.


3/29/2013 10:23:32 AM

Logical step after a domestic tank, helicopter, frigate, UAV etc is a fighter jet and an aircraft carrier. Turkey should make a product that will compete with the best fighter jets, just like ATAK T-129 does with the combat helicopters. GOKTURK TWO is watching YOU !!! :D


3/29/2013 10:14:41 AM

@Vargen, the ANKA is finished and already passed the tests for the Turkish Armed Forces. The new ANKA will have striking power, so that is why it needs a larger carrying capacity (matter of adapting the Turkish Laser G.M. Cirit's) , isn't that logical? Answer to your 2nd question, this is high tech technology that is also likely to be exported to other countries, which will gain Turkey money which it can spend indirectly (tax) to other sectors including health and education, it's like a cycle..

Vargen Vargen

3/29/2013 9:33:12 AM

Are we going to upgrade the Anka? As far as I know it has not even been used? And what kind of upgrade is it if it goes from 1,5 tons to 4 tons? To me it sounds like a totally new product. And that even beore the 1,5 tons version is finished? How much will all ot this cost? Money which we could spend on health care and education instead.
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