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ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish government finally released a Request for Information (RFI) for its ambitious program for the design, development and production of an indigenous fighter jet.

The country's procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), defined in the RFI document the scope of the fighter program, dubbed TF-X, as "indigenous design, development and production activities of the first Turkish fighter aircraft to meet Turkish Armed Forces' next generation fighter requirements and replace the existing F-16 fighter fleet starting from 2030s."

Companies or organizations capable of designing, developing and manufacturing the planned aircraft are invited to obtain an electronic copy of the RFI from SSM.

"This is a critical stage for the program," a senior SSM official familiar with the program said. "We wish to see which companies would be willing to take part and which capabilities will be offered.

Turkey's top procurement panel, the Defense Industry Executive Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, decided Jan. 7 to go ahead with the TF-X program after reviewing its feasibility.

At the meeting, the committee decided to move beyond the pre-concept design stage. It said that a twin-engine model would be pursued in the national fighter aircraft program.

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