The Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSİK) has taken the first step towards producing Turkey’s first national fighter jet by launching feasibility studies.
According to a Defense Ministry source that remained anonymous, the SSİK had met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2010 when they took the decision to produce the Turkish fighter jet and to complete it by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic, and had started feasibility studies for the fighter jet. The source stated that this study includes how much the fighter jet will cost, which mechanical and electronic systems will be used, and the opportunities and threats on the market.
The Turkish Air Forces (THK) currently has McDonnell Douglas F-4s and F-16 Fighting Falcons in its jet fighter inventory. However, these planes will be changed to F-35 from the American aviation company Lockheed Martin in the next couple of years. Since fighter jets require high-technology software to be operated, companies are not willing to share the codes of these planes, making the owner of these fighters jets dependant on the company. Turkey, however, wants to decrease its dependency on high-tech foreign defense industries by producing its own products such as its own fighter jet.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s first observation satellite RASAT was sent to Russia on Wednesday for its launch into space. It is expected that RASAT, designed and manufactured in Turkey by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and supported by the State Planning Organization (DPT), is expected to be launched in July from a space station in Russia. Satellite photos from the Turkish observation satellite will be used in city planning, forestry, agriculture and disaster management.