ANKARA — Engine-maker Rolls-Royce has offered joint production partnership to Turkey with a view to powering planned Turkish platforms and potential sales to third parties.

Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East visited Ankara on Oct. 6 and met with the Turkish leadership, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Defence Minister Fikri Isik and the country's chief procurement official, Ismail Demir.

A senior procurement official said Rolls-Royce’s proposal involves a production unit in Turkey to manufacture engines for the planned indigenous fighter jet, the TFX, as well as for helicopters, tanks and missiles.

"This is a strategic offer well received by the government," the official said. "It also involves potential sales to third countries."

In October 2015, a memorandum of understanding was signed in October by Turkey and Rolls-Royce on technological know-how and a production unit.

Under the plan, Rolls-Royce will launch an Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center (AMTC) in Turkey — the company's eighth such unit worldwide.

The company offers Turkey broad know-how and technology transfer.

Rolls-Royce has been offering its EJ200 engine to power the first Turkish indigenous fighter jet that is in the making. Terms of production, know-how, technology transfers and export licences are among the main topics still under discussion.

Under a program dubbed the TFX, Turkey wants to design, develop and produce its own fighter jet. Political and procurement officials are aiming for 2023 for its first test flights, the year when Turkey will be celebrating the republic's centennial, although most observers view that target with skepticism.

According to the memorandum, Rolls-Royce will work with the TUBITAK research council and related Turkish ministries: science, energy, transport and defense.

Rolls-Royce annually invests about £1.2 billion (US $1.5 billion) in research and development. It operates in more than 50 countries; and applies for some 600 patents on new technologies every year.

The EJ200 is a collaborative engine between Rolls-Royce, MTU, Avio and ITP. The consortium established EUROJET Turbo GmbH in the late 1980s. According to Rolls-Royce, the technology of EJ200 makes it both smaller and simpler in layout than current engines of a similar thrust class, while giving it lower fuel consumption and an unprecedented power-to-weight ratio.

Rolls-Royce has so far delivered more than 1,100 EJ200 engines. It has a thrust range from 13,500 pound-force dry to 20,000 pound-force with reheat.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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