Turkish and UK ministers are battling to save a flagship partnership to develop a fifth-generation fighter jet.
Rolls-Royce, the British aero-engine group, has been working with Turkish industrial giant Kale to bid for the engine development contract on the TF-X jet, an ambitious project to produce Turkey’s first indigenous combat aircraft.
A dispute has emerged over the role of a company with close ties to Qatar and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The programme is a priority for President Erdogan, who wants to build a national defence industry to drum up nationalist support and reduce Turkey’s reliance on outsiders amid growing strains with many Nato allies.
It is also crucial for the UK, which wants to develop its trading relationship with Turkey and sees the partnership as key to preserving Britain’s ability to develop military aircraft given the dearth of UK fighter programmes once production of the Typhoon combat jet comes to an end in the mid-2020s. (end of excerpt)
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