Turkish officials first began hinting at an interest in Russian military aircraft, including the Sukhoi Su-35 4++ generation fighter and the fifth generation Sukhoi Su-57 jet, after Ankara was kicked out of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme over its purchase of a Russian-made air defence system.
Turkey has not ruled out the possibility of purchasing Russian-made Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets, although it prioritises the creation of its own, domestically-developed next-gen fighter, Industry Minister Mustafa Varank has announced.
The subject of the potential sale of Russian fighters to the NATO nation is brought up regularly at meetings been the two country’s leaders, the minister added.
The minister also confirmed that negotiations regarding a second batch of S-400s for Turkey are ongoing, and that Turkey is interested in technological cooperation and the possibility of partial localised production.
Asked to comment on Washington’s decision to kick Turkey out of the F-35 programme, Varank said that the move has actually prompted Ankara to mobilise its domestic military industry, including in the aviation sector, to advance projects such as unmanned aerial vehicles. Additionally, Turkish Aerospace Industries continues its work with Britain’s BAE Systems on the development of a next-gen ‘National Combat Aircraft’ project, also known as the TF-X (Turkish Fighter – Experimental).
Varank says the country’s goal is to achieve 100 percent self-sufficiency in the defence sector,…