Russia has offered to cooperate with Turkey in developing its TF-X fifth-generation fighter jet besides advancing talks on the delivery of a second regiment set of S-400 air defence system (DS).
In relation to the TF-X, the Russian offer includes the fighter’s engines, avionics, onboard systems, airframe and pilot life support systems, Head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev said in an interview with the Turkish Ekoturk TV channel on Tuesday.
"We have something to offer in the field of aircraft engines — and such issues were discussed — onboard guidance and control systems, the aircraft’s ergonomics and airframe, the pilots’ life support and so on," he said.
Turkey has been struggling to get its TF-X project off the ground as does not have technology related to engine, avionics, and weapons systems among others. Breaking with the United States on the F-35 project, where it was a manufacturing partner, has further complicated matters in terms of access of fifth-generation fighter jet technology.
Russia and Turkey have advanced talks on the delivery of the second regiment set of S-400 ADS, Shugayev said adding, "the dialogue on the delivery of the second regiment set of S-400 systems is at quite an advanced stage and we are waiting for the Turkish side’s final decision."
A second regiment set will double the number of missiles and launchers which Turkey has purchased for an estimated $2.5 Billion. Turkey had offered to buy the Patriot ADS to make peace with the US. however, the Trump administration has been cold to the offer and has made canceling the Russian S-400 deal a pre-condition for further defence cooperation.
Earlier reports said Turkey has not "switched on" the S-400 ADS it received from Russia owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, reports emanating from the US said Turkey was trying to wait out from further antatonizing Washington till a final decision was taken on supplying two Su-35 jets already built for Ankara.
Regarding the TF-X project, Turkey had entered into an agreement with Rolls Royce to co-develop engines. It remains to be seen if that deal could go through in light of the current impasse with the US.
Turkey has been unable to sell its ATAK helicopter to Pakistan as the US has refused an export licence to the LHTEC-800 engine which is made by a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell.