Correction: This story has been updated to show that intellectual property rights for the Dornier 328 are owned by Sierra Nevada Corporation.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has quietly axed a multibillion-dollar program for the indigenous production of a regional jet with dual civilian and military use.
Procurement officials confirm the program has been aborted after a number of reviews proved that it had lost its “economic feasibility.”
“Costs and sales projections were not encouraging,” said an official familiar with the program.
In 2015, the Turkish government committed to buying 50 TRJet aircraft that would have been based on the Dornier 328 and 628 aircraft. U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corporation owns the full intellectual property rights for the Dornier 328.
The program envisaged the eventual production of four models of the aircraft — a jet (TRJ328) and a turboprop (TR328) with 32 seats, and a jet (TRJ628) and a turboprop (TR628) with 60 to 70 seats.
Esen System Integration, the Turkish affiliate of Sierra Nevada, who would have developed and built the TRJet, aimed at only selling 500 to 1,000 TRJ328 aircraft. Similar sales numbers were projected for the TRJ628.
Sierra Nevada has inked a memorandum of understanding with Ankara-based STM — a state-controlled defense technologies company — for joint work on the regional jet program.
Industry sources say the termination of the TRJet program is bad news for the local industry as a whole.
“The program would create business for hundreds of Turkish companies of all sizes,” said an aerospace company executive.
In an Oct. 30 statement, Sierra Nevada’s TRJet venture said: “We have not been officially notified by the [Turkish] authorities about any cancellation of the program.”
In early 2016, government officials said a final contract would be signed with Sierra Nevada “this year.” Since then, they have remained silent on the matter.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.