ANKARA, Turkey — Looming engine technology cooperation between Black Sea neighbors Turkey and Ukraine could turn into a longer-term business deal involving aircraft production and technology transfer, Turkish officials and analysts agree.
“Ukraine has the [engine] technology Turkey needs to develop. Political relations are free from poisoning disputes. And there is an understanding at the official level to develop joint programs,” a senior Turkish procurement official told Defense News.
Ozgur Eksi, a defense expert with Istanbul-based media outlet C4Defence, anticipates engine cooperation would flourish as long as Ukraine is willing to share technology.
“Turkey wants to develop an indigenous engine technology for various aerial platforms it has developed and plans to develop in the future. Technology transfer is key to doing business with Ankara,” Eksi said.
Ukrainian engine-maker SE Ivchenko-Progress is producing the AI-35 engine to power Turkey’s new, indigenous Gezgin missile, according to a representative with a Turkish engine manufacturer with knowledge of the effort. Ukrainian media has reported SE Ivchenko-Progress is producing a batch of 12 AI-35s.
SE Ivchenko-Progress, a subsidiary of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom defense giant, designs and manufactures engines that power 66 types of aircraft in more than 100 countries. The AI-35 engine family was built to power high-speed unmanned aircraft systems and advanced cruise missiles.
Analysts have described the Gezgin as similar to the American-made Tomahawk. The Gezgin program was designed to develop conventional, long-range strike capabilities for naval platforms. This new missile is thought to have a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.