Turkey is working on the development of a fifth generation fighter jet, General Director of the Aerospace Company (TUSAŞ) Temel Kotil said, Yeni Akit reported.
“We are building a national fighter, a fifth-generation fighter. The Americans have two aircraft – the F-22, the F-35. The Russians have a Su-57 aircraft. The Chinese also have a J-20 aircraft. And the Turks will have the Turkish Milli Muharip fighter jet. It’s a fifth generation fighter,” he said.
Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate, said in May that Turkey’s newest fighter would make its first flight in 2023. He claimed that the aircraft will surpass the American F-35 in terms of performance characteristics.
In 2018, the U.S. excluded Turkey from a program to co-produce F-35 fighter jets and train Turkish pilots. In addition, Washington approved a ban on the sale of fighter jets to Turkey and imposed sanctions against the Turkish Defense Industry Authority and its head Ismail Demir.
The cause of disagreement between the countries was Ankara’s deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russian S-400 systems. Deliveries of components of Russian systems started in the summer of 2019. The U.S. demanded to cancel the deal and buy American Patriot systems instead, but Ankara did not make concessions.
Last September, Turkish President Recep Erdogan assessed the deal with Russia as “it was worth it” and pointed to Ankara’s right to strengthen its own defense capabilities as it sees fit.