ANKARA — European engine-maker Eurojet Turbo may find a role in powering what would become Turkey's first indigenous fighter jet, industry sources and analysts said.
They said a critical Turkish decision to select a twin-engine model for the fighter jet the country hopes to design, develop and manufacture could be a sign that the European consortium could power the Turkish aircraft.
"That decision reflects a natural compatibility with Eurojet's EJ200," said one senior aerospace official. "It may not be a coincidence that Turkey decided to go for a twin-engine model."
Turkey's top procurement panel, the Defense Industry Executive Committee, decided Jan. 7 to move on to the "pre-design" phase in the country's bid to build an indigenous fighter jet.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, chairman of the committee, told reporters after the meeting that a twin-engine model would be pursued in the national fighter aircraft program, dubbed the TFX.
Shortly after that decision, oOn Jan. 20, defense electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey's biggest largest defense company, and Eurojet announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
Aselsan said the purpose of the MoU is "to pave the way for further discussions to explore potential opportunities for business collaboration on engine control units, health and usage monitoring systems and software development projects relat[ed] [related] to the EJ200 engine program."
It said: "The intended collaboration is primarily based on the EJ200 engine, which is currently employed on the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet and may find application in the Turkish TFX program. The parties have also agreed to explore further opportunities targeting the global market."
Said one Ankara-based analyst: "Aselsan may not be the primary partner for Eurojet in any deal to power the TFX, but it certainly is a strategic partner, given its weight in the Turkish industry." said one Ankara-based aerospace expert.
Turkey has said it wais looking for alternative programs to locally develop an engine for the TFX through its national engine-maker, Tusas Turkish Engine Industries (TEI).
"Eurojet's partnership with Aselsan may lead to a coproduction deal with TEI," the aerospace expert said. "In such a program, Aselsan would be tasked to manufacture electronic parts for the engine."
The EJ200 is a military turbofan, used as the power plant of the Eurofighter Typhoon. The engine is largely based on the Rolls-Royce XG-40 technology demonstrator that which was developed in the 1980s.
In common with the XG-40, the EJ200 has a three-stage fan with a high pressure ratio, five-stage low-aspect-ratio high-pressure (HP) compressor, a combustor using advanced cooling and thermal protection, and single-stage high and low pressure turbines with powder metallurgy discs and single crystal blades. A reheat system provides thrust augmentation. The variable area final nozzle is a convergent-divergent design.
One procurement official familiar with the fighter program said: "The engine is probably the most critical of our national program," said one procurement official familiar with the fighter program. "Ideally, we wish to partner with a manufacturer that would be willing to share technology and produce in Turkey with maximum possible input from the local industry."