Turkish company to build engines of F-35 fighter jets
Turkish defence industry company KaleKalip, a Kale Holding company, will produce F135 engines of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Turkey's state minister for foreign trade said, Anadolu Agency reported.
F135 engine is being built by U.S. company United Technologies Corp (UTC), a Fortune 500 company, for the world's biggest fighter aircraft program. UTC is also the manufacturer of Sikorsky helicopters.
Zafer Caglayan, who met UTC executives during his visit to United States last week, said that the American company started talks with KaleKalip in 2009.
"They will sign a deal next week," Caglayan said.
"At first, KaleKalip will manufacture more than 90 percent of F135 engines, and later they will manufacture all of them," Caglayan said.
KaleKalip's engine plant will be the second engine manufacturer of Turkey after TEI, the manufacturer of engines for F-16 fighter jets.
KaleKalip and UTC will set up a joint venture, in which 51 percent will be owned by Kale. The deal will be signed between Kale and UTC division Pratt & Withney, a supplier of aircraft engines for the commercial, military, business jet and general aviation markets.
Caglayan said KaleKalip will launch a $50-million research and development program for the project.
"It will start production this year. A group of UTC officials will come to Turkey next week. The plant will probably be based in the Aegean Free Zone (in western Turkey)," Caglayan said.
UTC has been working with KaleKalip and another Turkish company Alp Aviation in manufacturing of Sikorsky helicopters. The American company has plans to design and build an entire Sikorsky helicopter in Turkey for export purposes, Caglayan said.
"They have so far achieved an export of $80 million. Talks are under way for $1 million export a day," he said.
Pratt & Whitney and its joint venture partner, Turkish Airlines Technic, a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines (THY), also operate an engine overhaul facility in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen International Airport from which they expect an annual turnover of some $500 million, Caglayan added.