Turkish military media recently announced the TF-X domestically produced fifth-generation fighter R&D factory under development by Turkish Aerospace Corporation, and for the first time disclosed the appearance of the first prototype under construction.
Relations with the United States have been strained since Turkey purchased S-400 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia in 2017 amid the pro-Russian policies of the Recep Tayyip Erdogan government. After many negotiations, Turkey is still receiving the first batch of S-400 from Moscow in 2019. Former U.S. President Trump imposed economic sanctions on Turkey and suspended the delivery of eight F-35As to Ankara.
In 2020, the United States announced that it would exclude Turkey from the production chain of F-35 fighter jets. As the largest component producer, the Turkish government stated that the country will still fulfill the previous contract and continue to produce and deliver F-35 components until 2022.
Therefore, the Turkish government is determined to accelerate the development progress of its fifth-generation fighter TF-X. In addition to increasing the development funds of 1.3 billion US dollars, it has also hired more than 6,000 engineers to join the team.
The Turkish Aerospace Corporation (TUSAS), which is in charge of developing new fighter jets, also recently revealed the factory of the TF-X fighter jet, and let the visiting media and guests visit the first prototype under construction. The F-22 is smaller but larger than the F-35.
Although the Turkish government plans to allow the TF-X prototype to conduct its first test flight before 2025, there are still many variables in the engine issue. Originally, Turkey and the United States reached an agreement to allow TF-X to use the American singular F100 series engine, but in Turkey With the deterioration of U.S. relations, follow-up communication is still needed to determine whether the new fighter jets can successfully adopt U.S.-made engines.
Although Turkey is also discussing engine procurement with Rolls-Royce of the United Kingdom, the two countries have not been able to agree on the terms of technology transfer, which has also caused many uncertainties in the British-Turkish cooperation on engines.