ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has sent Rolls-Royce a request for proposals as it seeks a deal to co-produce an engine for the country’s indigenous fighter jet, the TF-X, according to the government’s chief procurement official.

Ismail Demir and Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Küçükakyüz led two senior Turkish delegations in a visit to the U.K. in May for a new round of talks. Turkey is now waiting for the British engine maker’s assessment and reply.

“We must find common ground at a point that makes sense for both parties,” Demir said. “It is imperative for us that the engine be produced in Turkey … that Turkey should possess intellectual property rights.”

Demir described the U.K. government’s approach to the plan as “generally positive.”

One aspect of the potential deal, he said, involves the ability to export the engine to other countries. “For that reason we don’t want any export restrictions,” he explained.

In October 2016, Rolls-Royce offered a joint production partnership to Turkey to power planned Turkish platforms and support potential sales to third parties. The company’s proposal involved a production unit in Turkey to manufacture engines for the TF-X, as well as for helicopters, tanks and missiles.

In January 2017, U.K.-based company BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries signed a deal worth more than £100 million (U.S. $126 million) to develop the Turkish fighter jet. “We work with Turkish Aerospace to bring know-how and engineering expertise to the TF-X programme,” BAE tweeted Feb. 15, 2022.

In a March 5 television interview, Demir said the Turkish government would negotiate a possible engine deal with Rolls-Royce. “We had some issues [with Rolls-Royce] before,” he said. “These have been resolved. I think we are ready to work together.”

Following his most recent visit to the U.K., Demir confirmed work with BAE is ongoing, but that the government needs to further define the company’s role in the FX-X program.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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